I read this book as an unabridged audio. Names and details may be a little wonky because I forgot to take notes and am relying on my crappy memory.
Laura is a widow with a three year old son. She's afraid to let her son out of her sight and secretly fears for his life as he stands to inherit Caldfort Estate. Her greedy brother-in-law's wife has just birthed a son so she has justification for her worries.
Into the picture comes Stephen. He is a long lost childhood friend who had once proposed to Laura. When Laura spies a letter stating that there may be another heir to the estate, she pairs up with Stephen to locate him in order to save her child from danger. This is where the book began to slow down and lose me. Laura, so very worried about her little child, decides to leave him with relatives because he whines that doesn't want to travel with her. Laura acquiesces after agonizing for a long minute and drops him off with the relatives. Huh? This makes no sense to me. Did I mention there is danger in their midst? Possibly the life ending kind? Did I mention the kid is three years old? Why on earth would you leave him because he got a little whiny? Promise him some candy and take that brat with you. She doesn't. Instead she tells one person the predicament and takes off. Now she's free to travel kid-less with Stephen who, now that's he's all grown up, successful, important and sexy, is irresistibly attractive to her. Convenient, much?
If you haven't noticed I found Laura difficult to like. One moment she seems intelligent and the next her head is in the clouds and she's sighing about how sexy she finds Stephen but fears she'll quickly tire of his quiet stability. Oh sigh and heaving bosoms what a horrible dilemma! How devastating it must be to find yourself falling for a man who will actually stick around and behave himself. Her honesty makes the love story a bit difficult to believe. Some thoughts really should be kept to oneself.
I also found the storytelling and pacing tedious. Laura and Stephen have spent the last million pages snooping through correspondence and listening through doors. That's pretty much it. OK I'll admit I might have dozed off here and there and I could have missed something exciting but I really don't think so. This was one of those books that felt like it would never end.
Towards the end there is a surprise relationship that is revealed and I can't say more without spoiling the one interesting thing about the book. I really wish the author had taken the time to write a novel about this pair instead of wishy-washy Laura. Final thoughts? This was boring, standard stuff and not one of Beverley's best.