The Companion's Secret by Susanna Craig
Miss Camellia Burke is a poor cousin sent to live with her wealthy aunt and cousin as an (unpaid) companion. That’s about the only thing she has in common with Fanny Price, though, so don’t go thinking this is anything like Mansfield Park.
Daughter of an Irish solicitor, disgraced by a long-ago mistake and possessed of a sharp tongue and decided opinions, Cami is a fabulous heroine. Secretly working on a novel expressly designed to get the English to understand the perspective of the Irish (in the time immediately preceding the 1798 Irish Rebellion), she’s thoroughly irritated at first by having to waste her time playing chaperone to her cousin Felicity and Lord Ash, the disreputable marquis courting her. When she realises Ash makes a perfect model for the villain of her novel, however, she sets aside her resentment to make a study of him.
Of course, nothing is as black and white as Cami thinks. The scene where she discovers the truth about Ash’s father’s death was so heart-wrenching I found myself yelling at the book, telling Cami she absolutely had to marry him. Everything that came after only reinforced my conviction that Ash was absolutely the perfect hero for her, though he’d already won me over by NOT reading her manuscript when it literally fell at his feet.
At the end of the day, I thought this should have been called “Lord Ash’s Secret” or “The Marquis’s Secret” because the one he was carrying, the one he’d never told another living soul, was way, way bigger than Cami’s. That minor quibble aside, I loved, loved, loved this superbly written, thoroughly researched and richly detailed historical romance.
This is the second book I’ve read by this author (To Seduce A Stranger was the first) and I can now confidently say I think she’s one of the best historical romance authors writing today. If you love historicals and you haven’t read Susanna Craig yet, put her on your TBR list now. Bump her right up to the top. You absolutely won’t regret it.
The Companion’s Secret is one of those books where I wish I could give it more than five stars. It’ll stay with me for a long time. Absolute perfection.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.