Signet, Sep 2002, 6.99, 384 pp.
In 1673 Ashcroft lives up to her family motto “Question convention” perhaps more than any of her siblings do. The studious Violet prefers learning and expanding her mind with a book than attending aristocratic parties. Even Violet admits to herself that her plain looks would never send any male panting as much as wealth would anyway.
Violet and her brother Rowan visit their neighbor inventor Ford Chase to help him with caring for his niece. Violet finds Ford quite handsome, but is really intrigued by his work on astronomy and especially his construction of a watch. Ford, whose “girlfriend” of six years finally gave up on his absent minded ways and eloped, enjoys his discussions and debates with Violet. As they fall in love with one another, she still has nagging doubts that any man would want her except for her money.
Though readers lose patience with Violet for her inability to believe in Rowan's love, simultaneously the audience will admire her thirst for learning that makes her feel more like a modern woman. The story line engages fans interested in how the intellectual couple finds the way to the heart is through the brain. Lauren Royal furbishes fans of seventeenth century historical romances with a delightful story starring two for the most part endearing brilliant eccentrics.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner