With her chestnut hair and striking green eyes, Charlotte should be the catch of Spring City, Colorado. But she wears her independence like an impenetrable suit of armor and cloaks her identity behind her famed writing nom de plume of Charles Sanborn. She's a 24-year-old confirmed spinster who won't risk heartbreak, until a handsome stranger awakens her yearning both for companionship and for indulgent pleasure.
Boston lawyer Reed Malloy has a solemn mission--to deliver two orphaned children to their Colorado cousin. He's not prepared for Charlotte being utterly innocent and yet irresistibly beguiling, or for her brewing resentment and flat-out refusal to raise her kin. It will take some firsthand persuasion if he is to complete his legal duty and, perhaps, resolve more tantalizing issues.
When Charlotte forsakes everything familiar--and two thousand miles of America's heartland no longer separate her from Reed--unforeseen influences conspire to keep them apart. The high society of the Boston Brahmins welcomes her . . . while concealed malice abounds. With the intrusion of sinister forces and scorned women--and with passions ablaze--Reed and Charlotte find themselves in a very Improper Situation.
The twenty-four year old author Charlotte Sandborn has lived in Spring City, Colorado, all her life. She lives alone in a big house, keeping mostly to herself, and spends most of her time writing professionally under the synonym of the renowned Charles Sandborn. But when a handsome and irresistible Boston Lawyer named Reed Malloy comes by one day with two orphaned children belonging to Charlotte’s deceased cousin, Ann, her world is turned upside down. Although she barely knew her, Ann’s wish was for Charlotte to raise her children, and Reed Malloy has come to ensure that the children are given the proper care in a good home.
Reed Malloy is not prepared for this independent working woman to refuse to take custody of the children. But over time, as he and the children stay at her home, he discovers her insecurities and overall reasons for her refusal. She comes to open up to Reed and discovers a love and motherly quality in herself that enables her to see that she and the children are indeed right for each other, as a family. By the same token, Charlotte and Reed discovers a soaring attraction and deep connection between them that will lead to a most improper situation…
When Charlotte takes off to Boston, and leaves everything familiar, she will meet new people, rediscover lost family, and find her inner confidence. But Boston also has something sinister going on that will be a challenge for this intelligent writer; a mystery that just might be a little too close to home.
This is a début novel that tackles a lot by taking the story in directions other than those you might expect, but I thought it worked well because it made it more interesting to go on this journey with these characters. Reed Malloy and Charlotte Sandborn are both characters you come to care about, and though the characterizations of them didn’t always feel completely seamless, it didn’t take anything away from my overall enjoyment of the story. The book at times felt a bit dragged out in places, especially in the middle part when Charlotte spends time in Boston before the mystery really takes off. I would say that one of the book’s strong points is the settings – the author captures Boston of the 1880s beautifully and realistically. The same is true of the small town life in Spring City. I thought it was refreshing to read a Historical Romance in settings we don’t really see so much of on the shelves.
Ultimately, I found it to be a realistic and well-researched book. Though the pacing of the story could have been more seamless, it’s still a thoroughly captivating and romantic story that I think most readers would enjoy. And if the reviews for the later books in the series are anything to go by, it looks like this series just gets better and better.
Reviewed for Romantic Historical Reviews.