Lady Kendra Frazier is devastated. The love of her life just married another, and now all she desires is to be as far away as possible. She takes passage on the first boat leaving the harbor and finds herself on the way to America, still hiding a guilty secret.
Viscount Lawrie, Joseph Pinetti Gray, is facing financial ruin and needs a wealthy heiress. Luckily for him, Kendra’s impetuous nature has handed him the fortuity he requires to save his family from downfall, and he pursues her once their ship is underway.
But Joseph’s carefully cultivated plans come to a grinding halt when he finds himself falling in love instead of arranging a marriage of convenience.
How can an old secondhand doll save the day?
Review: This short story/ novella starts out like many other historical romances. A young girl is heart broken, does something a little rash, then finds herself in peril. But, this book as little more than first meets the eye.
Kendra is headed toward America thinking her life is over when the man she loved married another woman. But, her broken heart will be the least of her worries when she discovers she is on board a ship carrying the infamous Viscount Lawrie, Joseph Pinetti Gray, an illusionist. Joseph as been commissioned to bring the lady back to England safe and sound… and married. So, Joseph plans to do just that, by wedding her himself. He needs the money this young, dim witted chit has and is prepared to do what he has to get his hands on her fortune. What he doesn’t count on is Kendra’s spirit and verve. She is no push over and is much smarter than he first thought. When a series of strange things happen, a doll Kendra was given seems to have an ability to work a little magic. But, it would appear that neither a magical doll nor Joseph’s skill as a magician will be able to provide Kendra with the one thing she desires most in the world… true love.
This short book has a lot of potential for real depth with threads involving Kendra’s childhood abuse at the hand of governess, her reading disorder, and a paranormal element, which added mystery and bit of humor at times. However, the one main thread which involved the reading disability did not have the satisfying conclusion I had hoped for. I wish Joseph would have offered to get her more tutors or specialized teachers instead of the solution he offered, which was better than nothing, and he did make an excellent point. We need to focus on what talents we do have instead of putting ourselves down about the things we are not so gifted at. There were a few other things about the story which were left unresolved or just kind of forgotten about. I had some questions about the doll, for example and few other things, like what happened to some of the characters we met on the ship. Sometimes in a story this short things don’t get firmed up like they should, so I do wish some areas had been fleshed out more. However, a little magic does creep into Kendra’s life despite Joseph’s initial reasons for wanting to marry her and all the other problems this poor girl faced in a time when learning disabilities were not treated or even addressed, and were often chalked up to inattentiveness or lack of application on the part of the student, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I do hope Kendra will not give up on her quest to learn to read. Thankfully, Kendra and Joseph will have a life together based on love and not convenience.