This book is part of a series of Regency romances. In the author's previous book "A Promise to Return (Mills & Boon Historical)," a young French girl, Sophie Vallois, saved the life of the hero of that book, Nicholas Grey, Viscount Longworth. She persuaded her brother Antoine, who was learning medicine, to treat Nicholas after he had been shot, left for dead, and lost his memory while on a secret mission in France.
Although Sophie is a minor character in "A promise to return" Gail Whitiker liked her so much that "I had to bring her back."
"Courting Miss Vallois" begins three years later. Viscount Longworth, when he got his health and memory back, had been concerned that Napoleon's more partisan supporters might consider Sophie and Antoine's actions in helping him to be treasonable and that they might have a difficult time as a result. His inquiries soon established that these fears were only too justified - faced with hostility from their father and neighbours, Sophie and Antoine had to move to Paris and adopt a new identity.
It took Lord Longworth's agents the rest of the intervening three years to track down Sophie and Antoine. When they did, Nick and his wife Lavinia invited them to London in the hope of using their wealth and influence to repair some of the damage done to Sophie and Antoine's lives through their compassion in saving Nick's.
Sophie is actually a farmer's daughter, but having been employed as a governess by a formidable English lady, Mrs Grant-Ogilvie, she has acquired an excellent command of English and perfect court manners.
Nick and Lavinia sponsor Sophie's entrance into polite society in London in the hope that her stunning beauty, charm and sweet nature will soon find her a rich husband. Sophie does not want to pretend to be more than she is and has no interest in marriage: but it doesn't take long before half the eligible gentlemen in London are courting Miss Vallois.
And two gentlemen in particular take an interest in Sophie from the first day she arrives in England. Both are handsome and formidable figures.
Montague Oberon is the heir to a Viscount, wealthy and charming, and is determined to make Sophie his bride. But he strikes Sophie at first impresssion as cold and cynical. Robert Silverton, though equally handsome and far more attractive to Sophie, is unable to entirely hide his dislike of Frenchmen, including Sophie's brother, though he makes an effort to be polite and fair to him.
Neither makes a good first impression on Sophie but as usual in the world of the regency romance, things don't stop there. Meanwhile Sophie's brother Antoine is immensely attracted to Robert Silverton's sister Jane, a beautiful and charming girl who walks with a severe limp because of an accident when she was younger.
Some disastrous pitfalls lie ahead for Sophie and her brother, and a horrible menace hides behing the glittering facade of Regency society ...
This book has many of the usual regency cliches but is not nearly as formulaic as some. There are several well-crafted characters and I enjoyed seeing what Gail Whitiker would do with them. This doesn't have as much meticulously researched period detail as you will find in the best novels describing this period, and one or two of the comments and actions struck me as more than a little anachronistic. If you're looking for another Georgette Heyer, let alone Jane Austen, leave this one alone. If you want a little light entertainment for to read for an hour or so's relaxation you may well enjoy it.
The series continues with "Brushed by Scandal (Mills & Boon Historical)" in which one of the supporting characters (in both senses of the word) in this book, Lady Annabelle Durst has her turn to take centre stage.