Everyone thinks Catherine Reynolds has come to London to make a match, but she's actually trying to find out which of three men mentioned in her deceased mother's journal is really her father. After three months of fittings for gowns in anticipation of the season, and no progress made in locating the three men who might be her father, Catherine needed to get out and ride to feel the wind in her face. When her groom's horse stumbled in a hole incapacitating him they decided that her sister and guardian, Victoria, would stay with the groom while Catherine would ride back to fetch a carriage. This would have worked out well if Catherine hadn't taken a spill when she ran into another rider. It was love at first sight for the stranger who was there to rescue her but as her later inquiries progressed, she discovered that there was a real possibility that he might just be her half brother!
John Wickenham-Thickenham-Fines, the Fifth Earl of Chatwin, was one of the more sought after bachelor nobles who had escaped being leg-shackled by the best of the matchmaking ton. He found himself clearly intrigued by the beguiling and cheeky miss that he'd almost run down. Her horse having run off, he endeavored to help her back to the stable to retrieve her carriage, but Catherine not wanting to take the chance of being seen before dawn in a gentleman's company had other ideas and ended up stealing his horse and leaving him stranded in the park. Catherine didn't know at the time that he'd been competing in a horse race and had all but forfeited the win to stop and help her. Furious, yet intrigued with the audacious chit who seemed immune to his charms, Chatwin was certain he would find her again along with his prize horse and regain his dignity if it were the last thing he'd do!
This was a pleasant read that had me thinking of another recent novel that uses the vehicle of a `gossip columnist' to fuel the protagonists actions. The search to locate Catherine's biological father in an effort to discover why he never married her mother, was interesting when it led to the door of the man who she fancied herself in love with, but then it seemed to fizzle out with no real joy or excitement generated over the ultimate discovery. The romance was sweet, if not earth shattering exciting, and the secondary characterizations, particularly Andrew (who I predict is soon to have his own story) and the lovely Lady Lynette who had a facial disfigurement, were interesting and well done along with the character of her older sister Victoria who would like a career as a ton matchmaker. While not an overly exciting read, it was somewhat predictable with a lovely romance that saved it with some very nice spicy scenes and cute dialogs. ---- Marilyn Rondeau, for www.historicromancewriters.com ----