At 28, lovely Lady Elizabeth Conway was old enough to know
what she wanted-most especially in the matter of choosing a mate. But now the independent Elizabeth found herself sorely perplexed... Her beau, the incredibly handsome and wealthy Lord Bevis was eagerly seeking her hand. Though the viscount showed no interest in Elizabeth's passion for astronomy or other intellectual pursuits, the young woman had to admit she was ever so fond of him...Then there was Lord Clanross, the insufferably opinionated and maddeningly bossy new heir to the Conway title. Still, Elizabeth had to admit she vastly admired his courage and enjoyed his brilliant mind. It would take a new comet in the heavens to help her choose wisely-and light her way to true love.
Let me start by saying I had a hard time warming up to Lady Elizabeth who I found to be in the beginning a bit of a cold fish, distant and a bit unfeeling. Things do change though and I enjoyed the second half of the story immensely.
When the story opens Elizabeth and two of her sisters receive the announcement that their father’s heir has arrived, one year late, to take possession of his title and his estate. When they meet Elizabeth finds him a bit stiff and even a bit rude. Not that she is worried about it, her prime concern is her work as an astronomer and then the raising of two of her younger sisters who live with her.
When Clanross, the heir, is found to being suffering of a war wound that explains much of his stiffness Elizabeth is forced to nurse him to health. They spend more time together and Clanross seems to respect and be interested in her work. In comes Bevis, friend of both who is been after Elizabeth to marry him for a long time. Bevis does explain much about Clanross’s past and since he keeps pursuing her, she eventually agrees to marry him. The fact that she now understands Clanross doesn’t stop her from inviting his heir, a wastrel of a cousin, whose temperament and interests are at odds with Conway just, in her own words, “to see the fireworks”. By this time I was definitely thinking cold fish. Not to mention that she seems more friend than lover to Bevis and he reciprocates by flirting with another woman, which doesn’t worry her at all.
Clanross proves to know Elizabeth better than anyone and respect her when, after she has discovered a comet and he shows his appreciation for her work, he hints that Bevis might not approve of her publishing astronomy projects after marriage and that she should be sure that she can work after marrying. After talking to him she does have a revelation. She won’t marry Bevis on his terms and she would very much like to marry Clanross. This surprises even herself and from that moment on, when she realizes that she is very much in love with him and that her aunt is matchmaking to marry him to another, she becomes much more human and interesting in my eyes. Instead of unfeeling she now feels deeply every range of emotion from doubt, self awareness, jealousy, fear of losing him.
Since this is a first person novel, we only follow Elizabeth’s side of the story and we are, as she is, quite in the dark about Clanross’s feelings. In fact she is convinced that he cannot reciprocate her feelings. He is always the perfect beta hero, never demanding but always supporting and suggesting improvements, for instance for the girls education. I found him absolutely fascinating and I was eager to see how the story would be unraveled so these two would be happy in the end.
Simonson writes great characters and great dialogue. Their witty conversation is just wonderful and I enjoyed them very much while I was following them through those plot twists and turns that they had suffer to reach their happy conclusion. Besides of how many heroes can you say that he accepted and encouraged his wife’s scientifical pursuits? Not many I would say.
For more on this book read Alex's review