Get it at Amazonfrom our DIK review: Benedict Nesbitt, Duke of Knaresborough and veteran of the Peninsular War, is drifting through an unsatisfactory life. It’s been a year since he climbed out of the bottle he was hiding in and made an unsuccessful bid for the hand of Elizabeth Ames. Now he’s begun mending fences with his sister Augusta, as his friend and former rival Anthony Cook has suggested. When Gussie’s house falls victim to an outbreak of chickenpox, Nez takes his apparently still healthy niece Sophie out of harm’s way to his estate in Yorkshire, but alas, it’s too late: on the journey the child begins to show signs of the illness. This is more than Nez can handle on his own. Fortunately for him, though, the enigmatic woman whom his butler Luster shamed him into picking up in a downpour proves more than up to the job. That one good turn of his leads to another, then another, and soon his acts begin to pay him unexpected dividends. The group - Nez, Sophie, Luster (who’s also come down with the disease), and the mysterious Miss Liria Valencia, along with the little boy who is accompanying her - stop for several days at an inn. In between seeing to her patients, Miss Valencia lets on that she’s on her way to Huddersfield, to seek work in the mill there. Moved by the innate compassion he tries to deny, but telling himself that it’s just the wish to avoid the unpleasant task of taking care of Sophie, Nez persuades Liria to accompany them to Knare. Upon their arrival, they learn that Nez’s housekeeper has just died. Nez acts on impulse and offers the position to the capable Liria. To his surprise and great relief, she accepts. Bit by bit, Nez comes to learn about Liria. By deduction and inference, he comes to the conclusion that this is no mere Spanish camp follower adrift at the end of the war, but how did she end up in England, with a child in tow? His suspicions dredge up old wounds in himself, forcing him to recall incidents when he himself behaved shamefully. A crisis he can’t ignore forces him - and Liria - to confront her past. It will demand all his strength, and all her trust, to carry them through the dark memory of horror and pain into the light of a shared future.
Grade: A-Check Review