Book Cover and Synopsis:
Her new position is tarnished only by Mrs. Jameston's
son. As Sebastian's resentment and cruelty toward his mother mount,
Cassie begins to harbor concerns for her employer's safety--and
ultimately her own. When Sebastian is suspected of fraud, insurance
investigator Mark Langford solicits Cassie's help to uncover the truth.
But what begins as a game of pretense is quickly complicated by matters
of the heart.
Novels that have the hero and heroine "dating" under false pretenses are fairly common, but this one stands out from the crowd for two reasons: It takes place in the 19th century (whereas most often times this plot plays out in modern novels), and the relationship pretense is actually part of an elaborate scheme to take down a criminal.
I quite enjoyed Cassie's character; her responses to the circumstances around her are genuine and realistic. It's interesting to see her reactions to suddenly being treated as a lady of means after gaining employment as the companion to a wealthy widow, having spent most of her life as the daughter of a laundress. Cassie feels that her new job is a blessing she never could have dreamed of, but she doesn't realize that her new position will entangle her in her employer's family drama in unimaginable ways.
Mark is also a very likeable character. As an insurance investigator his goal is to acquire information about his suspects, one of whom is the son of Cassie's employer. A chance meeting brings Mark and Cassie together, and Mark seizes the opportunity to gather information, enlisting Cassie's help in the matter. But as things progress, Mark starts to struggle with balancing his affection for Cassie, and the danger that his need for information puts her in. Likewise, Cassie struggles with her feelings for Mark, unsure if she should even admit to having feelings after having originally agreed to the "fake" courtship.
Just imagining being in Cassie's shoes, living under the same roof with such an evil-natured man (her employer's son) and being unable to talk of it with anyone except for a single outside contact...I simply don't think I could do it! But I'm certainly glad that Cassie was written as a strong enough character to be able to handle the situation, because I really enjoyed reading about it. This is one I can highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 stars