My rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
This book will release November 24, 2014
The first, second, and third novels detail the Elizabethan era romance between the actor Sebastian Hewel and the first Earl of Crofton, Anthony. In a nutshell, they manage to live outwardly as man and wife with the help of Sebastian’s sister Bronwyn.
The fourth novel in the Crofton Chronicles is set in the modern day. I found it also very hard to put down, for many reasons.
Mummy has gambled away nearly all the family fortune and now the family can’t afford to keep Crofton Hall going. Ben does everything he can to save the family fortunes, but that horse has left the barn. They must open the hall to the public, making it a wedding and corporate meeting venue, plus historical tours.
Ben’s not happy about this, to say the least, but he’s desperate to save the hall. His ad, “Like History, Old Houses, and Earls?” is answered by every unsuitable person on the planet. Except for one.
Ben hires Ashley Niven, eventually, an old hand at managing castles. It helps that he’s sexy and cute, intelligent and warm, but Ben has pushed ideas of romance and love in his life far out of reach. And he can’t possibly expect Ashley to go for a one-off and them to still be able to work together.
The narrative alternates between Ben and Ashley, so we know, despite the struggles both are going through, they’ll end up trying to save the hall together. What they have to go through to just open the doors to the public, hoops, red tape, and shady licensers, is a thriller unto itself. A host of interesting family members keep the pot stirred, too. Mummy is making promises she can’t seem to keep, and every day something else from the hall has gone missing to pay her gambling debts.
Threaded through this, and masterfully done, is the burgeoning attraction between Ash and Ben. The level of detail in this novel could have smothered the romance, but instead it balances out the craziness that has invaded Crofton Hall. Mummy’s debt has gotten out of hand, and saving Crofton Hall from the circling sharks gets more and more precarious, even as a wedding, the local women’s group, and a meeting of UFO enthusiasts brings the hall success.
The moment we’ve been waiting for, the return of Sebastian and Anthony, is a jewel. I obviously don’t mean a literal return, but they do save the day. History geek that I am, I got all teary-eyed over that one.
If you’ve read the previous three books, you’ll love this. If you haven’t, you don’t need to have read the first three to enjoy this, but I hope “Saving Crofton Hall” will make you want to read those, also.
The good news also is that this is the first book in a new series, Stately Passions, so we’ll be seeing more of Ben, Ash, and Crofton Hall. 😀
The Crofton Chronicles:
1. The Actor and the Earl
2. Forever Hold his Peace
3. Duty to the Crown
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press