If the Viscount Falls
When Dominic Manton’s life falls apart following the death of his father, he is suddenly without the means to support the woman he loves and had planned to make his wife. To save her from a life of penny-pinching while he builds a career, he engineers a situation which causes her to break their betrothal. This final book in the author’s The Duke’s Men series sees Dominic, now a successful and highly sought-after private investigator, reuniting with his former fiancée, Jane Vernon, when she asks him to help to locate her cousin, Nancy, who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
The situation is complicated further by the fact that Nancy is his brother’s widow, and until it’s determined whether or not she is expecting, the viscountcy Dom stands to inherit is in abeyance. Dominic suspects Nancy may be intent on defrauding him; Jane is adamant that she wouldn’t do such a thing, and the couple clashes repeatedly, Jane accusing Dom of being overly suspicious, he accusing her of being too trusting. And their troubles don’t end there; this is a couple whose emotional baggage is continually tripping them up so that it’s sometimes difficult to believe they are ever going to be able to find their way back to each other. Jane is still furious at Dom for ending their betrothal without discussing the situation with her, and has, over the years, come to believe his decision reflected a lack of confidence in her ability to cope with life in diminished and difficult circumstances. The daughter of an overbearing and dictatorial father, she is quick to bristle at the slightest hint of male authority, while Dominic, having lived a solitary life, is used to doing things his own way and keeping his cards close to his chest.
For all that, though, there’s no question that these two people never really stopped loving each other, and the sparks certainly fly whenever the pair of them are together. One of the things I enjoyed most about the story is the way in which the author shows each character’s growth by gradually bringing them to a greater understanding of each other. If the Viscount Falls is one of the stronger books in this series and brings it to an enjoyable close.