The margrave of Thornbeck has been told by the king that he is to find a wife, and with only two weeks to find one, he allows his assistant’s to arrange the party. Ten noble ladies are invited to spend the following two weeks at his castle, to allow him to get to know them and know their characters. Supposedly, unbeknowst to them, they will be giving a series of test to see if they are able to pass them.
Avelina, a maidservant from Plimmwald, is sent in the place of the earl’s daughter, who ran off with her lover. Because the Earl hopes to gain an alliance with the margrave, he is willing to send this servant girl on to stand in for his daughter. His only instructions, do not allow the margrave to fall in love with her.
Unable to figure out the way to conduct herself as a lady, Avelina instead is herself. In turn, the Margrave finds that he loves this lady from Plimmwald. At the same time that their love is growing, there is a danger beneath the surface that threatens to bring harm to both of them.
This, I believe was my first time reading anything by this author, and I found her attention to details to be spot on. The situation with Dorothea and her running away, especially with Avelina being willing to pick locks for her made me question her character. I mean, Avelina picked the lock to the jewelry case without any sort of regard to guilt in assisting Dorothea in her escape.
Despite that, I gave the book a chance and continued reading. Of the ten noble ladies, we only really get to know three of them. Of course the story is focused on these three, but it may have been a bit more helpful to have had the other seven ladies intertwined throughout the story in some form. Yes, two of them were equally snooty as the one focused in the book, but that was about it.
After the reveal of the servant deceiving the master, I thought this was where the book ended. But that was not the case, instead it took off with a breakneck speed to finish up the story in a most spectacular way. It was this part of the story where I discovered, I could not set the book aside and go to bed. I had to finish it. Right then and there, and finish it I did just after midnight.
I found the book to be a delightful read, with maybe the opportunity to read it again in the future to see what I missed in my hurried read in the end. I enjoyed it, but there were certain characters whom I just didn’t like, such as the maidservant chosen to be “Dorothea’s” to hide the secret. I felt it had so much potential, but fell just short of awesome.
I did receive this electronic version of the book in exchange for an honest review.