"Complex characters, subtle romance, and all the sparkling wit and flirtatious banter of a Georgette Heyer novel." - Publishers Weekly
"An effervescent Regency romantic mystery brings a decrepit estate to life." - Kirkus Reviews
"Ashford continues this sweet Regency series (after How to Cross a Marquess) with an irresistible love story." - Library Journal
"Superbly executed...Regency historical deftly composed of a charmingly rendered romance, a cast of imperfectly perfect characters, an exciting treasure hunt, a generous dollop of dry wit, and a thoughtful exploration of grief as well as the essential roles family and friendship play in life." - Booklist
Peter Rathbone, Duke of Compton, may be titled, but his estate is falling to pieces around him. Grieving the recent death of his sister, Delia, Peter is shocked when a carriage full of her school friends arrive at his far-removed property. Among them is Ada Grandison, who is haunted by the memory of a perplexing message Delia left about a family treasure. Ada is convinced that if she and her friends can decipher the code in Delia's note, she'll overcome the strange feelings. Replenishing the family coffers would certainly allow Peter to fix his untidy affairs and become worthy of the alluring Ada, but putting hope in a legend that may or may not be true won't be easy for the practical duke. Ada, her friends, and even the Earl of Macklin will have to work hard to convince Peter to learn to trust more and to see that the riches worth seeking are something far greater than gold. VERDICT Ashford continues this sweet Regency series (after How To Cross a Marquess) with a irresistible love story featuring a fearless heroine and a reluctant hero who find the answers they're searching for in each other, aided by an entertaining ensemble of secondary characters. Series fans will gravitate toward this title, but new readers should start with the first book, Brave New Earl.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash
A hunt for treasure—and treasures of the heart.
Peter Rathbone, the Duke of Compton, isn’t ever expecting visitors—his estate is so impoverished that he keeps a tennis racquet at the dinner table to fend off attacks from bats. Suddenly, however, he becomes the host to two parties: the Earl of Macklin, whom he hasn’t seen in six months, and a group of young women (plus chaperone, naturally) who went to school with his late sister, Delia. Led by Miss Ada Grandison, Sarah and Charlotte and Harriet are all eager to help the duke uncover a secret that Delia told Ada about just before her accidental death. Though the house is in disrepair, they all settle in, with chaperone Aunt Julia taking the opportunity to teach them how to run a household. Ada keeps looking for chances to be alone with the duke, to discuss Delia’s secret, and their private encounters spark a mutual interest. But Peter, for his part, won’t act on his feelings, having nothing to offer her, and Ada grows frustrated. After they all discover that Delia’s secret is a potential treasure trove hidden on the estate, the girls race to solve the puzzle Delia left behind and find the fortune. Peter’s not sure anything will come of it—but the chemistry between Ada and him continues, treasure or not. In the fourth volume of her The Way to a Lord’s Heart series (How To Cross a Marquess, 2019), Ashford continues her explorations of a world outside, but not apart from, London society. With a light mystery and evocative detail, she sketches a gentler side of Regency life, away from the haut ton. Although the budding romance between Ada and Peter is sweet and compelling, it’s the friendship between Ada and her three girlfriends that really sets the book apart. All of the dialogue, but especially theirs, is fast-paced and charming, adding a welcome richness to the story. The appearance of Lord Macklin might seem odd to readers who are new to the series, but the book can be read on its own, and fans of the series are sure to enjoy the latest entry.
An effervescent Regency romantic mystery brings a decrepit estate to life.