About the Book:
Opposites attract more than trouble in the latest captivating Regency romance from Susanna Craig.
Amanda Bartlett, widowed Countess of Kingston, is a woman beyond reproach. Married at nineteen, she dutifully provided the Earl with an heir and a spare before his death three years ago. Since then, Amanda has lived a simple, quiet life. A life that, if she were honest, has become more than a trifle dull. So when an adventure literally drops into her lap, in the shape of a mysterious book, she intends to make the most of it—especially if it brings her closer to a charismatic stranger…
Major Langley Stanhope, an intelligence officer and master mimic known as the Magpie, needs to retrieve the code book that has fallen into Amanda’s hands. The mistaken delivery has put them both in grave danger and in a desperate race to unearth a traitor. It’s also stirred an intense, reckless attraction. Langley believes the life he leads is not suitable for a delicate widow, but it seems he may have underestimated the lady’s daring…and the depths of their mutual desire.
Though Amanda Bartlett has been widowed for three years, she has not yet found the motivation to take control of her life and decide her future. Her ten year marriage to the Earl of Kingston, a much older man, was not a love match, but she did develop a fondness for him. Upon his death, Amanda’s mother arrived to “help,” and hasn’t let up since, keeping control of Amanda’s social engagements, much of the running of the household, and even going so far as to intercept Amanda’s personal correspondence. Amanda wonders if she’ll just let herself be pushed into marriage with Lord Dulsworthy, the guardian of her two sons. The status quo is interrupted when a stranger arrives at her home, bringing intrigue, danger, and romance.
Major Langley Stanhope, recently knighted, is an agent for the crown. His latest assignment is to retrieve a valuable code book, one which was switched with a purchase Amanda made, a seemingly simple task. The job becomes complicated when the book is passed from person to person, thanks to Amanda’s interfering mother, and soon the whole family is put in danger. Amanda is astute enough to figure out that there is more to this book, and more to Sir Langley. He goes undercover, posing as tutor to Amanda’s sons, as he seeks the book’s location while keeping everyone safe.
Langley’s insertion into the household acts as somewhat of a catalyst to shake up Amanda’s doldroms. She develops an attraction to Langley, also known as “Magpie,” and begins to become more resolved to resist Dulworthy’s attempts to marry her, as well as taking a firmer stand on the raising of her boys. Langley is equally smitten with the widowed countess, and they begin an affair which he feels has no future. After all, she is way above him socially, and he’s carrying a heavy burden of guilt over a tragic incident which was his own fault.
I loved both characters of Langley and Amanda, though they definitely have their flaws. Their romance is fun and steamy, and brings a fulfillment to Amanda that her marriage lacked. I really, really, really disliked Amanda’s mother. Though her actions were portrayed as being protective and done out of love, I wanted to throw her out of a window. Langley needed to forgive himself, and some of Amanda’s simple common sense went a long way to helping him let go of a mistake he made, and to move on. They have great chemistry together as a couple, and I greatly enjoyed his relationship with Amanda’s children. ONE THING LEADS TO A LOVER is an engaging romance, with enough intrigue to be interesting, but not overwhelming, and makes for a warm and satisfying read. ~Rose