Klassen’s charming second entry in the On Devonshire Shores series (after The Sisters of Sea View
) finds an aspiring novelist juggling her literary dreams and the attentions of two men. In the winter of 1819, England’s Prince Edward, his wife, and daughter arrive in the small seaside town of Sidmouth. The royal family take up residence at Woolbrook Cottage, while some of their staff stay at the Summers family’s nearby boarding house. The prince’s private secretary, James Thomson, soon becomes interested in Emily Summers, who’s having difficulty writing a romantic scene in her novel in progress because she’s never been kissed. In James, Emily finds a fellow bibliophile who becomes a close friend and helps her with her writing projects. Just as she starts to fall for him, however, “devastatingly handsome” Charles Parker, Emily’s former neighbor and love interest, shows up to make amends for cutting ties with the Summers family months earlier, after a messy scandal involving Emily’s sister’s failed elopement. Torn between the two men—who attended Oxford together, where they’d clashed over another mutual love interest—Emily turns to God to decide who and what she wants. Enlivened by historical details of the royal family’s 1819 visit to Devonshire, the narrative is propelled forward by an irrepressible protagonist whose spunk will easily win readers’ sympathy. This breezy and delightful installment is sure to satisfy Klassen’s fans. (Dec.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review mistakenly stated that the book was the final installment in the series. A third volume is planned.