Alexander Wescott, Viscount Borin, is bored. He has no interest in dabbling in his estates, which are already well-run. Discussions of agriculture leave him cold. What he really wants to do is be a spy, but the War Office wonít have him. Now, sure he is being followed, Alex makes another try at convincing Englandís spymaster that the country really needs his services. Why, someone obviously believes heís already a spy!
Isnít the fact that heís being followed proof enough of his suitability?
Apparently not, for Alex is given this advice: ďYou have a heart for adventure, Alex, but no stomach for hard work. Things have been too easy for you to have developed the trait of persistence, I suspect. Find a nice girl, settle down, and manage your estates.Ē
Alex, in a sulk, decides to try and catch the person following him. Maybe that will convince everyone heíd make a great spy. After all, he could certainly dodge behind enemy lines and seduce duchesses for information and all those glamorous things spies do. So there. And sure enough, as Alex indulges his convenient preference for walking everywhere, he sees a small boy keeping pace behind him. Alex dodges into a ladiesí corset shop, then turns the tables and follows the child. He ends up in front of a small townhouse, and the door is opened by a lady of quality who assumes he is there to visit her debutante sister.
Actually, this is no accidental meeting. Katherine Templeman has been keeping an eye on Lord Borin via her younger half-brother, who has been following him. Katherineís half-sister, Constance, will lose her inheritance if she isnít married by her twentieth birthday, and there are only a few weeks left in which to find a suitor. Constance met Lord Borin once. Now Katherine has determined heíd be an ideal husband for the lovely and sweet-tempered Constance. She just hadnít planned on him showing up so soon.
Worse yet, what will happen when Lord Borin shows a decided preference for Katherineís company?
Lord Borinís Secret Love is a lighthearted tale of two mismatched lovers: a bored society nobleman who is just shy of twitdom, and a young lady who has shouldered too much responsibility for her years. Katherine must manage the household of her uncle, their guardian, and he is prone to eccentric behavior after drinking too much. If Constance loses her inheritance to their greedy cousin, they might all be out in the street.
Katherine may come across as a bit bossy and managing, but surrounded as she is by a rather ineffective family, she has little choice. Her efforts to get Alex and Constance together are amusing, and the tone of the book turns wistful and poignant when she realizes she cares for Alex herself. You just know she could be the making of him, if they could ever get together.
Alex is a bit less sympathetic, at least at the outset, because he is the one who does most of the changing in this story. He appears on the scene as borderline petulant, and during the course of the book, he grows up. As a result, itís hard to cast him in the mental role of hero, though heís likable and proper toward the ladies, and ends up taking an active interest in the household.
The scheming cousin is standard stuff, though itís interesting how this plot element isnít allowed to drive a wedge between the lead characters. The possibilities were there for a Big Misunderstanding, thankfully avoided.
Lord Borinís Secret Love is a cheerful Regency read, acceptable but ultimately unmemorable.