My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another winner from Ms. Balogh. I like to return to early scenes in her books to study how she sets up her characters, revealing little bits and pieces of them. This is another example of excellent writing craft, but more importantly, it's a darn good story.
Anna Snow is an orphan, but she has a decent life. The orphanage where she was deposited as a young child isn't luxurious, but it's not Dickensian either. Her fees were paid by an unknown benefactor, and now that she's grown she's a teacher at the institution.
But one day she receives a life changing letter from a solicitor and nothing is ever the same. Can money buy happiness? Does status and privilege make one's life better?
Avery Archer might know. The Duke of Netherby is intrigued by the dignified young woman whose life intersects with his when Anna's true identity is revealed, and nothing for him will ever be the same.
I especially enjoyed that the protagonists aren't standard cover model beauties. Anna is described as plain by most people who know her, Avery is barely average height and somewhat effeminate looking, an appearance he emphasizes with bright, colorful clothing compared to the sober colors of his peers.
Balogh sets up interesting family dynamics and a succession of stories based on Anna's relatives and how their lives are upended by her arrival. I look forward to reading more in the future, and plan to re-read this one at a future date when I want to pick up a "comfort" read about romance growing quietly in unlikely places.
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