An original take on the Cinderella story. How do you go from poverty to riches without losing yourself in the process? Mary Balogh attempted to answer this question.
Anna, the female lead of the story, has lived in an orphanage all her life, first as an orphan child, then as a teacher. Suddenly at twenty-five, she becomes a lady heiress, thrust into the high society of London, but what she has wanted most for her entire life – her own family, someone to love – still eludes her. Her family wants nothing to do with her, and who could blame them. The same twist of fate that made Anna an heiress deprived them of all they owned. And the one responsible for this imbroglio is safely dead, beyond any blame or retribution. So they blame the only one who is left – Anna, even though she wants to share her newfound wealth with them.
Like Anna, Avery, the Duke of Netherby, is an unusual male lead. To start with, he is not tall and manly. He is golden-haired, short and slight, beautiful like a girl and almost, but not quite, effeminate. He is aloof and keeps everyone at a distance, but Anna gets under his skin in no time. Love creeps at them both and catches them both unawares, and they submit to its sweet demands without much resistance.
The story is charming and quiet, with no suspense subplot: pure romance at its best. It is very well written, and I loved it. It’s the beginning of a new series, and I look forward to more books about the characters I met in this one.