A Lady’s Guide to Ruin
Birch Hall Romance, Book #1
By Kathleen Kimmel
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Una
A romantic debut starring a reluctant earl and the beautiful thief who has put them both in danger—and stolen his heart…
Joan Price is a wanted woman. A thief and a fugitive from the mental hospital where she was falsely committed, she’s now on the run from her former partners in crime. But luck must be on her side—just when it seems all is doomed, she runs straight into the arms of Martin Hargrove, Earl of Fenbrook, who mistakes her for his distant cousin, Daphne.
Lord Fenbrook has no intention of marrying, and certainly doesn’t consider his notoriously scatterbrained cousin a prospect. But her flighty persona seems to hide something far more intriguing—a secret self she trusts with no one. And Martin is determined to earn that trust…
When Martin’s sister discovers Joan’s charade, they strike a bargain: Joan can remain within the safe walls of Birch Hall, as long as she doesn’t allow Martin to fall in love with her—for their flirtation would surely ruin them both. She’s convinced she poses no threat to his heart, but she’s beginning to realize that her heart may be the one in danger. Especially as he seems very set on seducing her…
I love when historical fiction gives a great period story, interesting and complex characters and a plot that keeps the reader turning pages. Kathleen Kimmel has accomplished just that in A Lady’s Guide to Ruin.
I loved the character of Joan. Joan Price has had to fight and survive all her life. When she gets mistaken for the distant cousin of the Earl of Fenbrook when on the run from her brother, luck finally seems to be going her way. Martin’s sister whom she has been charged with being a companion to, sees through her charade when Joan uses past skills to get them out of danger. Both women decide to keep the charade going with the stipend that Joan not let Martin fall in love with her. As the physical attraction is there this proves to be harder than Joan had imagined. Common sense tells her that they could never be together however her heart tells her different. When her past comes to threaten her and Martin’s family’s security, Joan must make a choice to leave, however she decides to help out the only way she knows to prove her love for Martin.
Martin knows deep inside that Daphne(Joan) is not the flighty person he remembers and he knows that she is keeping things from him. He sees Daphne change his sister from a sickly needy person into someone who wants to be a part of life again. He also knows that he cannot see a future with her since his own life is uncertain as he is not the true heir to the Earldom. Would Daphne accept him without his title? When things evolve and Daphne’s persona is revealed, Martin first of all must find the real Daphne and then see what he is to do with the impostor he knows he loves.
The story is fast moving and I enjoyed the subplot of Martin’s sister. I hope that the author’s next book will cover her story. A great read for a Sunday afternoon as the days get shorter and colder.