Charles brings many of my favorite things about her writing to this book, such as dynamic and memorable characters and the politics of family and society. Robin and Hart clash immediately, which of course means that they are meant for each other. Hart sees through Robin and his sister’s fortune-hunting scheme and sets out to protect his innocent niece from such a match. Unfortunately, Hart’s niece has other things on her mind, and ultimately, Robin does too.

A significant loss at cards brings Robin and Hart even closer together, much to the reader’s delight. Hart is awkward enough to be adorable, and Robin is smooth enough to be genuine in his affection. Neither man is terribly forthcoming about their pasts, which leads to direct conflict since both are working to secure the best future possible for the women in their care. To be fair, the women in their care are smarter than both men put together, but such is the lot of women in this era. Those without a fortune crave that security, and those with one tend to underestimate the privilege of their status.

This book is not my favorite of Charles’ stand-alone historical romances, but I have no regrets reading it. She maintains her status as one of my favorite authors, and this novel again proves why. New fans of Bridgerton looking for more stories that buck generic standards set in this English era should definitely check this book out as an excellent introduction to this author.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.