cover image Escaping His Grace

Escaping His Grace

Kristin Vayden. Lyrical, $4.99 mass market (325p) ISBN 978-1-5161-0570-0

This tepid follow-up to Falling from His Grace, set in Regency-era Edinburgh, lacks the luster of its predecessor, and the romance is so thin, it’s almost nonexistent. Lady Samantha Chatterworth uses a false identity to shield herself from being found by her overbearing father, a duke who’s determined to force her into a loveless marriage. She becomes governess to the ward of Heathcliff Marston, Viscount Kilpatrick, and immediately charms Heathcliff with her intellect and beauty. Heathcliff has been deceived by a woman in the past, and he vows not to get too attached to “Miss Miranda,” despite the rush he gets every time they kiss. He feels there’s nothing wrong with some fun as long as everyone involved keeps it in perspective. When Heathcliff learns that Miss Miranda is really the sister of his best friend’s wife, instead of feeling betrayed, he accepts her motives and agrees to continue to aid her, but he’s much less willing to have an affair with a highborn lady than he was with a governess. When her father’s men catch up to her, Heathcliff offers marriage as a form of protection. The romance has a lot of potential but is bogged down in unnecessary details of other events. Iris, Heathcliff’s ward, provides some shine, but her vivaciousness is not enough to carry the story. Those who enjoyed the previous book will find this one disappointing. (Feb.)