This regency romance by K.L. O’Keefe was a bit of a difficult read for me, I must admit. The female main characters are a mother (recently widowed but married to a much older man in a loveless marriage) and her daughter (an absolutely spoiled beauty). Add in the new Lord (inherited the manor and title) and his valet (an impoverished one handed ex army, not quite noble).
Enter the complexities of being a widow, of being a spoiled daughter who simply wants to be married and cossetted and wishes to keep the estate and its riches in her own pocket. This is where I had a harder time with the story… I found Evangeline just that step too far over the selfish spoiled child in the beginning, her mother making next to no effort to reign her in while bemoaning that somehow this beloved daughter is such a shallow character suddenly? I love the valet with his missing hand and his wit covering his own embarrassment and frustration. The Lord himself is interesting with his frank understanding of his own lust and interest in the women, BUT I find him almost too much.
There is a definite sexual element and the side characters (all men) are of varying temperaments. There is the question of worth in a rather (at least perceived) shallow society where money and birth are rated so high. The conundrum of being a widow and dependent on the new Lord… love as something of worth or something you let go of to make the level of society you wish to reach…
So in retrospect there are some added elements to what starts off as simply a regency romance. BUT for me this was a difficult read. There is great aspects but I had a hard time warming to all the characters. Definitely worth a read though!