By day, he has one persona and, by night, another.
Winter Makepeace is a man of contrasts. He is the mild mannered manager of a children’s home by day and has another guise by night. He has chosen celibacy to avoid women as he doesn’t want to unleash the beast within. He is drawn to Isabel and she is the only one who can break his vow of celibacy. He has less experience with women than the ‘normal’ male of the time and I think that makes him more special. As the Ghost of St. Giles he wants to find the “lassie snatchers” those who are responsible for the kidnap of young girls for the delicate work of sewing stockings for the gentry. He is often pursued by the guard as they believe he is up to no good. Then one night he finds himself in Isabel’s bedroom. He kisses her but it is that kiss that eventually gives away his identity.
He finds that his position is under threat and must take ‘gentlemen’ lessons from Isabel in order to keep his job as manager. His caring and compassion really comes through on the pages especially when a young girl comes into the home and he struggles as he doesn’t want him near her because of the trauma she has suffered at the hands of others.
Isabel Beckinhall is a widow. Her baron husband died several years ago and she now has the ability to do as she pleases. She takes the occasional lover and is now involved with the Ladies’ Syndicate for the Benefit of the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children. She is required to assist Winter become a gentleman at the urging of the other ladies in the group. She does have several barriers to her success including Viscount d'Arque who for some reason desperately wants to manage the Home.
This couple have Winter’s reluctance to deal with as he believes he needs to save the home and as also has his secret to protect. Once he realizes the home will be in safe hands, and he finds a successor, he lets his feelings be known to Isabel.
It is a different view of the ton and the benevolent society’s that the ladies are usually involved in. It was good to read of a manager of a home and the lengths he would go to make sure the children were safe. I really enjoyed this story.