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I am consistently impressed by the intricate details Kristi Ann Hunter weaves into her books! I hadn't had a chance to read the first book in the series, so I was a bit worried I wouldn't be able to fully appreciate this book. However, I was able to easily catch up and have a good idea of the different characters' histories. And there were many! Some authors will introduce many characters, and my mind has a hard time keeping track of who's who. That was not a problem here, as I easily remembered who everyone was and their unique personalities. Some of the secondary characters in this story were really entertaining and deserving of their own stories, like Jess and Mr. Thornbury. I don't suppose they will end up together, but I am shipping them so hard.
Daphne Blakemoor is hiding a big secret and her past is catching up with her. Hidden away for 12 years in a rural village, with very little contact with London society, Daphne has finally become content with her role in life. She has been running a home for unwanted children of elite families, and almost every child has a family of their own now. The only trouble is that the home is run in a house owned by a negligent lord, and he has no idea what is going on under his roof. When the owner's son inherits the property, he comes to settle in, and Daphne comes face-to-face with her past. With her future in jeopardy and her new boss unaware of her true identity, things are about to get complicated at Haven Manor.
Daphne was a hoot in this book! Poor thing had no idea how to handle the situation she found herself in, and her fear of new people came out in the funniest of ways. She was a deer in the headlights for much of the book, constantly trying to hide her secret and act the housekeeper to a lord who looked a lot like her son's father. I found it interesting how similar she ended up being to WIlliam, as they were both very introverted. At first, I had a difficult time understanding William's personality - he seemed aloof and impersonal. But then it eventually came out how much he just wanted peace and quiet, and his aversion to society was evident. Daphne was the same way, although given her history, she was even more jumpy about it. Any time she thought she might have to deal with new people in the house, she was worried not just for her safety but also her peace of mind. Ultimately her love for the children shone through, and her inner strength grew as the story progressed. I was so proud of how she handled herself around William as their relationship grew stronger. Her character development was amazing and inspiring.
My hope is that we get to see more of Jess and/or Mr. Thornbury in future books! I have a feeling Jess will have her book next, so I am excited to learn more of her background.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**