Michaels has a knack for crafting unconventional historical romances, and this second Mistress Matchmaker book is no exception, giving readers a couple whose unexpected passion is smoldering and whose emotional connection is subtle and fulfilling enough to keep readers spellbound. Michael’s knowledge of historic details colors every aspect of this story, as her tormented hero and her resilient heroine are forced to confront not only their own demons, but also the social and family bonds that keep them from mutual happiness.

Mariah Desmond was foolish enough to fall in love with her protector, and when he dies, she is left desolate and destitute. This time, Mariah is determined to protect her heart — until she encounters John Rycroft. John has harbored a dangerously strong passion for Mariah since she became his best friend’s mistress, though he never dared to tell her. He knows that he can never be her savior, but when the dark secrets in his past threaten to consume them, he vows to risk everything to keep Mariah safe. (SAMHAIN, Dec., 256 pp., $15.00)
Reviewed by: 
Bridget Keown