Brooke Hammond had not chosen the life of a courtesan. It was the only way for her to survive. Her life changed when she was taken under the wing of Jackson Montgomery, Duke of Devonshire. Their relationship was platonic. Jackson had promised he would leave Brooke and his two nieces, Jocelyn and Shannon, well taken care of. When he had died, he'd left Brooke his American plantation, Moss Grove, and enough money for the young women to leave England for a new life. Mr. Jeffries, the solicitor in charge of the duke's affairs, went with them.
Once in New York, the three ladies have a tearful farewell and go their separate ways. Mr. Jeffries travels with Brooke to Moss Grove. However, the duke had not told Brooke the entire truth. Brooke arrives at Moss Grove, in New Orleans, to find out that Travis Montgomery, Jackson's son out of wedlock, is already in residence. Mr. Jeffries reads Jackson's will aloud and shock Brooke and Travis to their very cores. The two are now business partners; both have inherited half of the sugar plantation.
Travis is furious! He knew Jackson never really cared for him. When Travis was but sixteen, the duke had sent Travis and his mother, Margaret, to live on the failing plantation. Travis has only recently managed to turn Moss Grove into a profitable business. Due to other items in Jackson's will, Moss Grove may fail after all. Currently, Travis's mother is up north with Hesione, his fiancée. With luck, by the time they get back he will have managed to get rid of the unwanted business partner. No matter how lovely the "widow" is, Brooke could ruin everything.
Brooke is not happy with the news either. Due to the will's terms, should Travis marry Hesione, Brooke would no longer have a claim to the estate. No one knows Brooke had survived as a courtesan, but those skills may help her seduce Travis away from Hesione.
***** Do not judge Brooke harshly. There are more terms in the will than I mention in my synopsis. There are more characters than you would guess as well. I fell in love with Mammy, the housekeeper, and twelve year old Eliza, Travis's second cousin. Hesione's Creole family can cause major problems too.
Author Alexandria Scott has created an exceptional tale set during a time in history when such situations could become most volatile. I found this story to be very extraordinary; the heroines of most historical romances are of young, naive, ladies or widows. This author has dared to go against the grain and has earned my high regards. BRAVA! I can hardly wait for the nieces' stories to be told. *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.