The story is set in eighteenth century England. Evangeline’s parents are dead, her twin brother is missing, presumably killed by highwaymen, and she lives with her aunt, Caroline, and her husband, Gregory. When Caroline dies, Gregory forces himself on her and tells her that she then has no choice but to marry him, since no other man will have her. Upon their marriage, Gregory, as her husband, will receive her father’s estate.
Evangeline runs away.
She finds herself without money, without food, and with no shelter from the weather. Kendall befriends her and takes her to his home, where she will be safe until she turns twenty-one and can inherit herself. It would be scandalous for an unmarried woman to be traveling with him, much less residing in his home, so they pretend to be married.
The story is entertaining and holds the reader’s interest. It is realistic, too. In their time, communication was poor and travel was difficult. The staff at Kendall’s estate and the people in the nearby village have no reason to doubt that Evangeline is his wife, except for the rumors that they do not share a bedroom.
Kendall is the black sheep of his family, but he is well meaning, has a good heart, and falls for Evangeline. With her help, he is able to organize his finances and how to administer his estate.
Evangeline is painfully shy. She is at a loss how to behave at parties and how to interact with men. Former suitors have named her “the Ice Goddess” because of the aloofness that she projects to protect herself. She, too, is a good person. She falls, hard, for Kendall, but her lack of confidence and her poor self-image make it difficult for her to accept his love.
Kendall’s valet is faithful to his employer and seems to always appear whenever trouble arises. Gregory is a pig and would be in any century.
While the story does not deal with actual historical events, it does accurately reflect the laws, customs, morals, and thought patterns of eighteenth century England. The author is able to blend these with an interesting plot, good dialogue, and lovable characters produce a book that anyone who likes romance novels will enjoy.