While I love murder mysteries and romantic suspense, I suppose you could call historical romance my guilty pleasure - except I don't feel remotely guilty about it! I've read almost all of Louise Allen's books and she is one of my favourite M&B Historical authors. She always comes up with great stories, meticulously researched, which often don't go in the way one would expect - and this is one of those.
It is 1816 and Ellie Lytton is dependant on the charity of her step-brother, Francis. She has money of her own, which he has control of (as was usual at the time), and a small income from writing children's books. Then disaster strikes and Francis dies leaving her destitute - not only had he lost his own money, he'd also managed to lose hers. Ellie has no choice but to pack up and head to Lancaster and her sole remaining inheritance - a small, practically derelict farmhouse. As she has no means of getting there, she manipulates her step-brother's friend, Blake, into taking her in his carriage.
You might think this would be a fairly predictable story (the clue's in the title, etc) but it is so cleverly written that every time you think you know what is coming next, something completely different happens. I also enjoyed the way the main characters actually liked each other and the only thing stopping them getting their HEA was their failure to communicate - both had issues in their past that needed to be overcome.
So, an enjoyable Regency romance with lovable characters, a few surprises along the way and a very sweet ending. Recommended.