Have you ever finished a romance novel and thought, this is how it is supposed to be done, this is how I am supposed to feel? I am supposed to feel that I know the main characters intimately, I am supposed to feel their pain, and rejoice at their happiness. That is how I felt when I read the last page of this book and I realized that, unless something truly strange happened and Adele Ashworth starts writing very differently, I will always buy her books, because this is how romance is supposed to be written.
Caroline Grayson is not simply intelligent, she is brillant and wonderfully talented with plants. Ever since she discovered her affinity for flowers, she has wanted to study botany with her idol who is a professor at Oxford University. However, when she is cruely dismissed because she is female, she disguises her gender and applies, and is accepted, to study in New York.
However, things don't go as planned when her father announces that she must marry Brent Ravenscroft, an impoverished lord who has come to her father to demand the return of property which was improperly sold to him when Brent went off to war. Caroline's father tells Brent that he must marry Caroline in order to get back what was sold, throwing both of them into a relationship that neither desired. Caroline believes, since Brent doesn't want to marry her anyway, that she can simply get an annulment and fulfill her dream by going to New York. Of course, things don't work out quite that way...
What follows is a truly touching story about what it means to love and be loved. The pain, excitement, and healing that often goes with falling in love with a person who truly is meant for you.
The most amazing thing about this book, and other Ashworth titles like Winter Garden, are the characters. The reader has the joy of watching two people who had planned different futures for themselves, ultimately find happiness and love. Both have emotional scars, Caroline from growing up brillant, but limited by her gender, and Brent from dealing with his family. I was touched when Ashworth described the pain Caroline felt when she had to stand outside classrooms in order to learn more about the science she so loved, enduring comments about her feminity. So often authors tell us that a heroine is intelligent, but so few show it as well as Ashworth. Thank you Adele Ashworth for giving us romance readers such a wonderful and moving story. For those of you who find yourself without something to read, and have not all ready devoured this book like I and so many other have, or for those of you who simply wonder what all the fuss is about, read this book. It's magic.