At the tender age of 17, Christel knew that Lord Camden was the man of her dreams. He didn't even know she existed, until she approached him in the gardens outside a masquerade ball. In the dark, they shared kisses and touches and the promise of a dance. Until Christel's cruel half-sister crushed her dream, with news that Camden would be marrying their beloved cousin.
Nine years later, Christel and Camden cross paths again. She has spent those years living in the colonies. Now, Camden is a widower, raising a young daughter. They end up sharing a ship back to Scotland. It's quickly apparent that the attraction between them is still very much alive. But just as before, Christel knows that her poor parentage will prevent her from ever making a real match with Camden. And her years in America have hardened her in many ways... made her afraid to allow herself to love. But as she becomes governess to Camden's daughter, and spends more and more time in his company, her heart begins to open.
The story not only follows the romance between Christel and Camden, but also the mystery of how Camden's wife died; It explores his tumultuous relationship with his libertine brother Leighton; And in broad terms, touches on the political wrangling of the time.
The love story was sweet. Initially, it had a Cinderella feel to it. That changed into something decidedly more adult as Camden and Christel's relationship became more physical. The story was pretty engaging, but I have to admit that the resolution to the big mystery seemed to come out of nowhere! I can't quite decide how to feel about that. And after an entire book of listening to Christel's inner dialogue about how she and Camden can never be married, her proposal felt incredibly abrupt.
Overall, it was a pleasant historical love story. Almost 4 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley