“SEEING MISS HEARTSTONE,” by Nichole Van, Fiorenza Publishing, $11.99, 313 pages (f)
It’s 1816 and Arabelle “Belle” Heartstone, who has a small fortune, decided to take marriage matters into her own hands in hopes of appeasing her persistent mother. Rather than wait for a proposal, she selects and proposes to the Marquess of Blake, Colin Radcliffe, as “Seeing Miss Heartstone” opens. While he gently turns her down, he does offer her some advice: to believe in herself and learn how to fly.
Belle, whose businessman father taught her what he knew about finances and has a knack for good investments, decides not to marry — at least for now. She invests in Lord Blake’s business ventures anonymously as LHF in the East Indies as he travels there to infuse cash into his holdings.
And so begins a correspondence between Lord Blake and a mysterious LHF as they expand their businesses together and set up charities to help war veterans.
When he returns in 1823, Colin is determined to discover the identity of LHF. Belle is still single and has turned down many offers for marriage. While Colin and Belle are at the same house party, letters are lost and found and extenuating circumstances puts them together as a relationship starts to blossom. Belle is sure that once Colin finds out that she is LHF that he won’t feel the same.
It’s an enjoyable, clean historical romance with several entertaining twists as the road to love is never smooth. “Seeing Miss Heartstone” started out as the novella “An Invisible Heiress,” in the “Spring in Hyde Park” Timeless Regency Romance collection.
There isn’t any described violence, sexual content or foul language.
“Seeing Miss Heartstone” won the 2018 Whitney Awardin the historical romance category.
Nichole Van is a photographer and is the author of eight novels.