By: Marcia, guest reviewer
Quiet and obedient Emily Fairchild is not expecting an adventure. She is content to care for her father, a country vicar since her mother died after a long illness less than a year before. She is happy to have been invited to the masquerade ball being held by the Marquess of Dryden at his country estate. Her cousin Lawrence was kind enough to escort her.
Emily is unable to dance, still being in mourning, but she is looking forward to visiting with her best friend, Lady Sophia, daughter of her father’s patron, Lord Nesfield. Unfortunately, Lady Sophia is dancing with the notorious Earl of Blackmore. Lord Nesfield takes issue with this and there is an embarrassing confrontation.
When Emily is ready to leave she follows a man that she thinks is her cousin and gets into his carriage. In the dark, it takes little time for Emily to realize that the man in the carriage is not her cousin but the Earl of Blackmore. The Earl is happy to have what he thinks is a widow in his carriage. He has no use for virginal young ladies, as he is not ready for marriage.
Maneuvering herself away from the seductive Earl and back into the ball without anyone seeing her is the first of her adventures. Soon she finds herself accused of murdering her mother and blackmailed into posing as the spirited niece of Lord Nesfield in London and must find out who tried to elope with Lady Sophia.
Since the Earl of Blackmore and his friends are the suspects, Emily must spend time flirting and trying to encourage them to confide in her. In the meantime the Earl of Blackmore has not forgotten the lovely Emily Fairchild whom he recognizes in spite of the fact that the carriage, on that first night, was very dark.
This delightful romp entertains with twists and turns provided by the mystery of who tried to elope with Lady Sophia and the necessity of defeating Lord Nesfied. The personal growth that the characters find on the way to love adds interest and dimension.