An Affair Downstairs by Sherri Browning

An Affair Downstairs by Sherri Browning is an Edwardian Historical Romance set at an English Manor in Yorkshire in 1907. Lady Alice and her eccentric maiden aunt, Agatha, have come to Thornbrook Park where her matchmaking sister, Sophia, is determined to find Alice a suitable husband. Alice, however, has pledged to stay single, supporting herself with the money held in trust from her great grandmother. Her repugnance towards marriage does not keep Alice from wanting to experience life with a to do list which includes traveling the world, but her number one aspiration is to experience love. Her target is estate manager Logan Winthrop, a handsome and mysterious man with a quiet demeanor due to a dark past. He secretly is enamored with the lively Alice and tries to keep his distance, but has difficulty watching her being courted by unworthy suitors. Alice is persistent and finally is able to break through his resistance. After making love, he proposes marriage but is refused. Despite numerous obstacles, including an accident and an unexpected engagement, true love conquers all.

While the characters of Alice and Logan are well defined, the other participants in the story need to be fleshed out somewhat. Aunt Agatha is a delight and I wish she had played a more central role in the plot. A previous book (Thornbrook Park) involving Lady Sophia and her husband, the Earl of Averford, is alluded to, but these important players lack a fullness which was perhaps present in the former novel. The reader is also left to wonder about the motivation of would be lover Lord Ralston. The stated reason seems, at best, to be far fetched. Perhaps the true motive is revealed in the sure-to-be next novel, since this one ends in a cliff hanger. There is a little too much repetition of the main characters’ thoughts and the story needs to be tightened up with miscellaneous characters and erroneous plot lines either eliminated or explained. The title is also misleading, leaving the reader expecting more romantic interplay between the owners of the estate and their staff.

Despite these flaws, this was a pleasant, enjoyable book and I give it three stars.

Thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing this book to download free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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