Chase St. John is guilt-ridden man who decides to leave England, only on his way out he is robbed and knocked out. Harriet Ward and her family, whose family has only one mortgage payment to make, have made up an imaginary fiance, Captain John Frankenham, to persuade the bank to give them an extension. Harriet and sisters find Chase with a bloody head and bring him home to nurse him back to health. They think Chase has amnesia (which he does not) and tell him he is Captain Frankenham. Chase, choosing to go along with the charade for fun and also to get closer to the attractive Miss Ward, actively pursues Harriet.
As the family gets Chase to help them out with the farm work, Harriet finds herself falling in love for Chase. Chase as well feels a healthy dose of emotion for Harriet, but Chase's guilt over a past carriage accident throws shadows over their love, especially when Chase's blackmailer over the accident becomes angered when Chase refuses to go along with his plans.
This report prepared by Angel Manners
Avon, Dec 2003, 5.99, 384 pp.
Chase St. John is upset with his so-called best friend Harry Annesley for always borrowing money that he never pays back. Worse Harry holds over his head the accident in which a drunken Chase ran over and killed a woman with his coach. Chase tells Harry no more as he plans to leave for the continent so as to not shame his family. He leaves behind his marker to pay his bar bill, but Harry steals the voucher.
The four Ward females are in financial trouble when their matriarch informs banking assistant Gower that her oldest daughter Harriet has a wealthy fiancÚ Captain John Frankenham. Soon rumors spread about John. Near the Ward home someone tries to kill Chase, who is rescued by Harriet. The women think he suffers from amnesia, which he does not, so her mother introduces him as Captain John. Chase thrives on the role because he finds himself very attracted to Harriet.
The latest St. John ring tale is a fun story due to the shenanigans of Harriet's mother. The lead couple is a fine duo and the support cast enhances the depth of the tale. Though the villain seems ridiculous with how far he goes to accomplish his personal agenda, fans will appreciate this romance and look forward to the adventures of the next sibling possessing the undesired talisman ring (poor Devon).
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner