Set in 1823. After a popular ladies' magazine names Lord Nicholas St. John as one of "London's Lords to Land", Nick agrees to help the Duke of Leighton locate his runaway sister, Georgiana, who went north. Georgiana has a ten day head start and has covered her tracks well, but Nick specializes in tracking people. With his Turkish companion, Rock, by his side, Nick gladly leaves London behind. The hunt leads Nick to Yorkshire where he meets and becomes intrigued by an enigmatic female.
Being the daughter of a title wastrel, Lady Isabel Townsend is used to uncaring men. After her father's passing, Isabel continues to do what she has done for several years now: Care and protect those dwelling within Townsend Park, as well as her brother's birthright. Ten-year-old James is the new Earl of Reddich. Isabel knows that James needs a man to guide him, but no one is available. Their father certainly never cared about his heir and was never in Yorkshire. James also needs to go to school, but everything that had not been entailed to James is gone.
Townsend Park is also a secret sanctuary for ladies in need, fondly called the Minerva House. The house is filled with two dozen mouths to feed, all of which were females required to remain well hidden. In dire need of funds, Isabel decides to sell her collection of Grecian marble statues. Lord Nicholas St. John is a well known antiquarian, so when Isabel meets him in Dunscroft she is eager for him to view, value, and perhaps help sell her precious marbles. But Isabel must be wary. Should Nick learn her secrets, the Minerva House would be exposed and James's future could be ruined.
***** FIVE STARS! In a word, "WOW!" MacLean has a smooth, yet vivid, writing style that quickly caught and held my interest. Several intriguing characters, each with their own secret or two, caused my surroundings to blur. The real world seemed to fade away as I found myself pulled (unprotesting) into the lives of Nick and Isabel. No simpering miss here! This heroine does whatever needs to be done, including getting on the roof to fix leaks. Be prepared to spend several hours reading once you crack open this book. So order out, unplug all electrical devices, and lose yourself in this romance for an extended period of time. Highly recommended! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.