In 1818 London, fashionable society views Alexandra Sinclair as an outspoken bluestocking from a scandalous family. Then word gets out that she is about to receive a sizable inheritance. Suddenly Alexandra has a flood of eager suitors, all displeased to learn that she intends to never marry. Instead, she plans to use her fortune to reopen The Refuge, a home her beloved grandmother established for abused wives and their children.
Accompanied by her reformer aunt, her cousin, and his handsome friend, Alexandra travels to Yorkshire to inspect The Refuge, which closed after her grandmother was murdered protecting a runaway wife from her enraged husband. Soon after they arrive, a coal miners’ strike brings chaos to the area. Her family insists Alexandra abandon her plans and flee for safety. But she refuses to leave.
Adding to the danger is the reappearance of two of her rejected suitors. Having failed at conventional forms of courtship, they move on to blackmail, battery, and even kidnapping to try to coerce her into marriage. Alexandra is forced to fight for her independence—and her very life.
I have read all of the author’s contemporary mysteries, and like them a lot. I also like her first Regency Mystery. The plot is strong, and covers more contemporary topics than a typical Regency Romance. It was interesting to read about social justice and human rights wrapped up in a mystery. I thought the characters were well drawn, especially the villians. I enjoyed that the plot kept me guessing until the very end.