This was an engaging book and seemed a bit reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast to me, which I loved. While it is in no way a retelling of that tale, there were many similar elements - reclusive master of the house, a lonely beauty, and a mystery that the beauty needs to solve. If she leaves, all hope is lost.
Evangeline Pemberton is on the run from her abusive stepfather, though she chooses to trust the wrong people. She gets sucked into a plot to trap Gavin Lioncroft into marriage at a house party, and though she doesn't want to, the fear of her stepfather finding her puts her in a bind. Especially when she meets Gavin and feels an immediate attraction. Gavin, meanwhile, is bitter over his family's estrangement from him, and he is enraged that his house is overrun with people. His sister has arranged this house party to help her daughter make a match, and Gavin reluctantly allows things to go on as planned. When a crime unexpectedly happens in the midst of things, all fingers point to Gavin, and the only person who can prove his innocence is Evangeline.
I enjoyed reading about Evangeline and Gavin! Both had unique personalities, and they mixed well, often with humorous results. Gavin was so surprised to find that Evangeline would stand up to him and snap at him when she was upset, so it ended up being what drew him to her. Her courage and fire was entrancing, as well as her unique beauty. Evangeline did have a moment towards the end that was a bit disappointing, since she seemed to have complete faith in Gavin up until that point, but she was humble and could admit when she was wrong. Their love was strong and shine throughout most of the book.
Thankfully, this book was originally published in 2010, so I can go read the next book in the series now. Very excited! This was my first book by Erica Ridley and won't be my last.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**