I bought this book while looking for something to read one night. The heroine, Victoria, is struggling to keep her family off the streets in the wake of her father's shady death.
As a child, Victoria, who was never good at the genteel things (sewing, watercoloring, dancing, flirting) at which her sisters excelled, befriended a neighboring servant boy named Tom and the two corresponded through a journal for nearly six years.
Suddenly, Tom stops writing, years pass, Victoria's father dies and she's faced with the choice of being kicked out of the family home (along with her mother) or marrying to secure a place in the world. So, out of desperation, she ventures next door and asks to see Tom (the two never met because of their differing social classes) only to be confronted with Viscount David Thurlow, who tells her immediately that he pretended to be Tom all those years ago.
Family scandal has ruined many of David's chances to secure an advantageous marriage and, after finding out about Victoria's situation, he offers to marry her in order to solve both their problems.
For a while, the marriage is in name only because Victoria wants time to get to know David and he agrees to her terms, but this gives the book time to build characters and sexual tension between the two.
The flow from chapter to chapter was consistent and I never grew anxious because of a slow pace, but I did find myself wondering at minor issues of plausibility.
For instance, when they were children, Victoria and Tom wrote to each other in a journal...for FIVE years. Unless that journal was the size of a college dictionary, I honestly don't see how they corresponded that long and only went through one journal and STILL had blank pages to write on in adulthood.
I was also rather skeptical about the 360-degree turnaround of the relationship between David and his father, the earl. The older man is sick and near death and bitter, but suddenly, Victoria reads to him for a week and he's making apologies and explaining his actions? Hmm.
I also didn't think that for the amount of weight given to the deep, dark family secrets kept by David and by Victoria, that the secrets were all that dark. Once the truth came out, everyone involved basically said, "Oh, that's not so bad," but if these were things that Victoria and David truly felt m ight ruin their relationship, I think the secret OR the reactions should have been more profound.
All in all, though, I thought this was a very charming love story about childish affection maturing across time; one of those "meant to be" loves that won't disappoint the casual reader of regency romance.