Penelope Rosebery and her sister, Aubry, are headed to London when the mail coach they are riding in breaks an axle. Penelope had fallen in love with a scoundrel. He had convinced her to invest her father's money and her dowry in an investment scheme he had. Not only was there no investment, he looted their house while Penelope was at the church waiting to marry him. Her father died in anguish and now the girls have nothing. Penelope is planning on tracking down the scoundrel and getting back her mother's heirloom cameo. Victoria Betcham, Countess of Fenhurst is traveling to London after dropping her daughter off at their country estate to mend her broken heart. The Countess meets the girls and offers them a ride to London. On the way, Penelope falls asleep while Aubry and the Countess plot. The Countess uses them as surrogate daughters and arranges for lessons for Aubry and wardrobes for both girls. Phineas Bechtam, Viscount Fenhurst arrives at his London home to find his mother and the Rosebery girls. He is an honorable man, though a rake, and insists on helping Penelope with her problem, though she won't disclose it. There is an immediate attraction between Phin and Penelope when they literally run into each other at their first meeting. Phin is disappointed to find out that Penelope is attempting to locate a man.
As Phin escorts Penelope around London society and is searching for the man that he thinks stole her heart, he slowly realizes that he loves her. He figures out that her scoundrel is the rogue that he is searching for that cheated him out of a horse (then stole it when he couldn't pay). Phin challenges the rogue and the rogue kidnaps Penelope after Phin discloses that he now has the cameo. When Phin rescues her, they finally get their HEA.
It wasn't far into this novel that I knew that I had to suspend any reality because the premise of the Countess lavishing attention and money on two young women that were strangers was a bit far fetched. Another pet peeve of mine is if an author is going to write about the nobility, be it historical or contemporary, they need to understand that the son of an Earl would use their father's most senior subsidiary title and the "last name" of the title wouldn't be the same. Pain should not be "Viscount Fenhurst" if his father is the Earl of Fenhurst. I was confused whenearly in the novel, the butler refers to Victoria as "Her Grace". Was Phin's father originally supposed to be a Duke?
So, once I got past that, I LOVED the novel. If I was able (gotta go to work), this was a book that I would have started reading and not put down until I was done. At one point, I wanted to BE Penelope because Phin was the perfect hero. Penelope was the right heroine for him. She was strong and fought for what was hers. I liked the suspense surrounding the scoundrel (I can't call him fiance because he never intended to marry Penelope). I wish there was more with the neglectful aunt, the cousin that wanted Phin for herself, and the creepy cousin that wanted to marry Penelope. This is a novel that I will read again and again when I need something happy.
I give this novel a five out of five because it did make me happy.
I received this novel as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.