About the Book:
As the women of the Clifford Charity School for Wayward Girls fearlessly bring corrupt aristocrats to justice, they put their lives—and their hearts—on the line…
Going undercover as a governess is a first for Cecilia Gilchrist. But once she’s installed in Darlington Castle, discovering whether the mysterious marquess murdered his wife proves more daunting than she imagined. Dashing widower Gideon Rhys, Marquess of Darlington, is clearly harboring secrets—but is it possible a cold-blooded killer lurks behind his devastating gaze? Trailing his every move only brings her closer to him. But if her heart misleads her, she could pay with her life…
He never should have let her into his world, but now that Cecilia has infiltrated his home, his senses, and his heart, Gideon will do anything to keep her safe from the darkness that has robbed him of everything. Yet keeping her close only makes it more challenging. For the more Gideon falls for Cecilia, the greater the danger to her…
Cecilia Gilchrist, now twenty-three, was rescued from the Foundling Hospital at the age of seven by Lady Amanda Clifford, who sheltered and educated Cecilia in the school she established. Lady Clifford’s passion is to aid women in whatever fashion needed when men and the system fail them. Her current quest is to discover whether the fiancé of a young lady is truly guilty of murdering his first wife, as society is whispering. Cecilia is the one chosen to do the investigating, posing as a maid, as she tries to uncover the truth. As this is Cecilia’s first assignment, she feels totally inadequate for the task, but is equally determined not to disappoint her benefactress.
Gideon Rhys, Marquess Darlington, has been dubbed as the Murderous Marquess by society and even by his own townspeople. They even perpetuate the rumors of ghost sightings on his property, convinced that his dead wife has returned, seeking vengeance. In truth, Gideon loved his late wife, and mourned her loss greatly. But now he’s determined to forge ahead, and find a convenient wife, one who will guide and care for his beloved young niece. His fiancée, Fanny, is due to arrive shortly, and their wedding is to take place soon after. He wants everything to be perfect for Fanny, so he is in dire need of servants. Though he’s convinced the new maid, Cecilia, is anything but a maid, he’s willing to put aside his doubts, and let her stay, at least, for the moment.
Though Cecilia manages to screw up time and again, she’s somehow able to talk around Gideon, convincing him to let her stay. When Cecilia forms a solid relationship with his niece, Isabella, Gideon includes the care of her as part of Cecilia’s duties. There is no doubt that there are strange happenings – locked doors mysteriously opening, clothing appearing out of nowhere, and a perplexing cat who comes and goes at will, seemingly determined to lead Cecilia into trouble with her employer.
Gideon can’t deny that he’s more attracted to his perplexing employee than he is to his beautiful fiancée, but he’s an honorable man, one who won’t take advantage of those under his protection, or dishonor his commitments. Gideon, is, in fact, a stellar man, one falsely accused and greatly hurt by the whispers about him. His life has been full of loss, first, his older brother, the former marquess, then his wife, and we soon learn that his loss has even more of a tragic turn. Will the “ghost” drive his fiancée away? Will he ever be free to pursue his attraction to Cecilia? Will he ever be vindicated?
Cecilia is an adorable bungler with the best intentions. Her investigations always seem to put her in the wrong place at the wrong time with Gideon, yet she always manages to talk her way around him. Their mutual attraction remains forbidden for much of the book, as he is committed elsewhere, but once they are free, I love how they are together. Though inexperienced, Cecilia brings joy to a man who has had to endure too much sorrow, as well as being the catalyst for solving the mystery. THE VIRGIN WHO VINDICATED LORD DARLINGTON is quick paced and entertaining, while still being able to be romantic and touching. It’s a book I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. ~Rose