Tracy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: The Society for Single Ladies, #2
Release Date: March 31, 2020
As a member of the Society for Single Ladies, a crime solving club headed by Angela Childers, Dorothea Rowland is thrilled to be assigned a case. She is currently at a house party at Cressbrook House, being given by Louis Thorpe. Louis is planning on having Benedict Thorpe, Lord Brocklebank declared dead and have himself declared the successor to the title of Marquess of Belstead. Ben disappeared after he and Louis dueled over Lady Honoria. Thinking he had mortally wounded Louis, Ben fled to the colonies and hasn’t been heard from in years.
Dorothea is sadden to learn that Ben is to be declared dead, once upon a time, Ben and Dorothea’s families had proposed a match and Ben was happy to oblige, until he met and fell in love with Honoria. Dorothea had loved Ben, but she was gracious when he proposed to Honoria without even telling her and she was heartbroken when he fought the duel and disappeared. So she is shocked and is not sure how to feel now that he has returned from the dead.
Ben is not the same man Dorothea loved, he has matured and has become a successful business man in the years he had been away. He would have been content to let Louis inherit, but his friend Hal, who has been the only person he stayed in touch with has told him of the decline in the estate and the debts Louis has amassed, draining the estate and endangering the livelihoods of his tenants. Despite his desire to stay in the colonies, duty to the title has been ingrained deeply in Ben and he couldn’t let the estate suffer. When he returns Louis tries to claim he is an imposter and that the title belongs to Louis. Ben turns to Dorothea for help proving he is in fact who he claims to be.
Dorothea agrees to help him and they both begin to develop stronger feelings and Ben decides that Dorothea would make a perfect partner for him, but it is soon clear that someone doesn’t want Ben to inherit and they are willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that he doesn’t!
This was a good story, albeit wordy and stuffed with random facts that did nothing to move the story along. I enjoyed the relationship between Dorothea and Ben, it was not “instalust” and developed in a believable fashion, the mystery was decent and not immediately obvious (but the villain didn’t really come as a surprise), the love scenes were on the warmer side and the epilogue is very heartwarming. As I mentioned, I did find the book a bit wordy, it also dragged a bit and then the ending was rushed and anticlimactic. I didn’t love the book, but I didn’t hate it either – it was an “OK” read and I will definitely continue with the series.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provide to me by NetGalley and the Publisher.*