To readers of her popular book Mrs. Goode’s Guide to Homekeeping, “Mrs. Goode” is an expert in all domestic matters.
Household management, home décor, entertainment . . . there is nothing about
which she lacks an opinion. Who better to assist the Earl of Stalbridge, newly
appointed guardian to his niece and nephew, in turning his house into a home?
The widowed Lady Manwaring is the farthest thing from a domestic doyenne, so
when asked to pose as Mrs. Goode on behalf of the book’s true author, she
warily agrees. On arrival, she’s surprised to discover that Lord Stalbridge is
actually her childhood friend, Kit Killigrew. Tabetha might be an imposter, but
her attraction to Kit is all too real . . .
After years separated from the woman of his dreams, Kit’s eager to do more than
play house. Will Tabetha’s big reveal ruin everything, or lay the foundation
for true love?
This introduction to Susanna Craig's new series may be a quick read (92 pages) but it brings all the emotional feels I expect from a full-length novel. There's a second-chance romance for Beth (the widowed Lady Manwaring) and Kit (Lord Stalbridge), new - and unexpected - professional opportunities for Beth and her stepson, Oliver, and a newly-formed family with two orphaned children. All things that pique my interest and touch my heart.
It takes skill to pull a reader in and then give them a full reading experience in only 92 pages. It's a skill that Craig has in spades. I really cared about these characters, and not only the two leads. I loved that Kit and Beth had life experience to bring to their adult second-chance romance and I loved that even with those twenty years apart, the yearning in Kit's heart had never lessened. I could feel each of his emotions with a visceral intensity. Oliver's secrets and family history about broke my heart but his relationship with Beth, and her steadfast support of him filled my heart. Kit's response to the unveiling of those secrets made me love him even more. And then there are the children, who arrive near the end of the story. Even with scant page time, Craig gives readers a clear picture of these two that stole my heart.
I won't give away any spoilers about what's to come for these - and more - characters. I'll only say that my interest has been captured and I have already pre-ordered the first full-length book in the series, The Lady Knows Best (April 25, 2023). The books will feature new heroes and heroines but I do hope we'll be treated to occasional glimpses of Kit, Beth, Oliver, and the children. I feel like they've become my friends and I am very much invested in their futures.