This book is the sequel to A Passion for Him, a book that had potential but which I found disappointing in many areas. This book is different in some ways but still falls short of its potential.
Amelia Benbridge is the half-sister of Maria, the heroine of the previous book, and we learned something of Amelia's story in A Passion for Him - how Amelia fell in love with one of the stableboys, Colin Mitchell, who tried to discourage her because of the differences in their stations
(Amelia is a Viscount's daughter). In the end, she saw Colin killed - thus the youngsters' romance was over, and Amelia turned to the Earl of Ware, another childhood friend and one who is honorable and caring.
Here, Amelia is on the cusp of becoming engaged to Ware when she finds herself being observed by a mystery gentleman at a masked ball. There's something unusual about the man, and she finds herself drawn to him, engineering another meeting and eventually chasing after him and finding herself in an inn with him. However, the Count Montoya, despite being hugely attracted to Amelia, is involved in a complicated spying plot where he is attempting to track down Cartland, a double-crossing agent who wants to kill him. Not only that, he is also
pitted against her childhood sweetheart, Colin, who strived for many years to make something of himself so that he could become worthy of her. Amelia seems to react surprisingly badly against this revelation, and the final third of the book follows her as she vacillates about how she feels about Colin, alongside a damp-squib spying plot that never really gets going.
Although an enjoyable read in some ways, this book does fall short in a lot of areas. The characters seemed one-dimensional, the historical accuracy
is pretty loose, particularly in terms of dialogue and behavior, and the overall plot
is thin for a book of this length, bulked out by sex scenes. The fact that Colin managed to get himself a Spanish Count's title and then became a member of the British aristocracy is laughable.
Perhaps Amelia and her family don't mind that he's really a stableboy, but he would hardly be able to move in polite society without the lifetime's learning of behavior and speech. The author's general writing style is good, but her plots and characterization tend to let the stories down, and this is a shame.