Harlequin, Oct 2004, 5.50, 304 pp.
In 1875, Lady Lydiard Talbot visits her stepdaughter Claire, who partially owns Brancasters Marine Works. The weeping lady tells Claire that her daughter Tessa is thinking of breaking off her engagement with Spencer Stanton, whose family owns a large shipping company which is a good customer of Brancasters. Apparently fortune hunter Ewan Geddes has gotten Tessa to reconsider her upcoming nuptials. Claire promises to talk with Tessa.
Claire meets Ewan at a reception and recognizes him as the servant who stole her heart ten years ago before vanishing. Seeing him reminds her of her father's admonition that no man would desire a plain girl like her; they would only want her wealth. Ewan realizes that he pursues the wrong Talbot as he never got over Claire. However, she would never believe that he loved her as a lad and loves her even more as an adult, as everyone knows he is just what her father described, a handsome HIGHLAND ROGUE who is after her fortune not her.
Victorian romance fans will value this fine tale starring two protagonists who have no reasons to trust the other. The story line is often humorous especially when Claire and Ewan battle, which is much of the novel. Ewan and Claire make a fine couple though at times the heroine seems spineless.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner