A little bit Jane Eyre, a little bit gambling debts, horses, and two suitors at dinner.
Patience Creighton is the "unofficial" headmistress of Rosemere. Her father, the former headmaster, has died. Her brother has not been heard from in months. Her grieving mother is stricken with melancholy.
One night, their wayward landlord, William Sterling, suddenly appears beaten and in need of aid. As Patience tends to him, the attraction is clear. Except he kept muttering the name "Isabelle."
When a fire threatens Rosemere, Patience comes to trust William. Could he be the romantic hero she dreamed of as a girl? The dream suitor she envisioned when she refused an offer of marriage from her childhood friend?
William knows he should be thinking of his gambling debts and finding a buyer for his foal. However, his thoughts are increasingly on the headmistress of Rosemere. But how could he ever hope to love, again? What can he offer her? When he finds his late mother's jewelry in the headmaster's office, a mystery from his past resurfaces.
Very enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down.
The ending was a little rushed for me. I needed a chapter in which Patience takes in or thinks over the mystery of William's past. She did a lot of thinking about every other situation.