The aspirations of many an unpublished romance writer includes winning the coveted "Golden Heart" award sponsored by Romance Writers of America. In 2006, "Scandal's Daughter" won the Best Short Historical Romance category, and after reading this charming Regency-set novel, I believe the accolade was well-deserved.
Author Christine Wells paints the English setting beautifully and introduces us to Gemma and Sebastian, two likeable characters whose lifelong friendship forms a bond that gradually evolves through tenuous bouts of passion into a deep love capable of healing the wounds of the past.
Gemma is plucky without being obnoxious, and Sebastian is a complex character driven by a dark childhood filled with abuse and culminating in the loss of his beloved brother. The author's skill at portraying the deep emotional ties between the hero and heroine brings an emotional context to the story that makes it a very satisfying romance.
Ms. Wells employs a skillful balance, using humor to occasionally lighten the mood and deftly working in the Regency-era details that form the flagstone of this type of novel without making them an intrusion. She creates an interesting world populated with endearing characters and provides the requisite happy ending. As a reader of romance, I couldn't have asked for more.