I really enjoyed the first book in this duology about a brother and sister separately hunting for portions of the same hidden treasure, and finding romance, as well as a new sense of purpose, along the way. This time it’s younger sister Georgette Frost’s turn in the limelight, although she begins the story disguised as a scruffy urchin as part of her plan to get away from her old family home – now the residence of some not entirely agreeable cousins – and make enough of a fortune from her search that she can set up an establishment of her own and no longer depend on the kindness of others. Of course, none of her plans work out quite as expected.
Before she can board the stagecoach that she hopes will take her to Derbyshire, Georgette is recognised by none other than Lord Hugo Starling, a long-time friend of Georgette’s brother and a regular customer at their family’s bookshop. Being an upstanding, proper gentleman, Hugo takes it upon himself to protect Georgette from the perceived dangers she might encounter on the road and bundles her into his own private carriage. Georgette is not pleased, and proceeds to make fun of Hugo, softening towards him only as it becomes apparent that he harbours ambitions of which his family and society disapprove.
Hugo studied medicine at Edinburgh with Georgette’s brother, and has also received practical training in surgical techniques; now he wants to found a hospital where physicians and surgeons can combine their skills for the good of patients from all walks of life. For this Hugo will require sponsorship from the Royal Society or one of the great Royal Colleges, which seems not to be forthcoming at present. Having heard about the Royal Reward for the return of the missing treasure, Hugo determines to find it himself – more for the notoriety it will bring than for the financial benefits – and then use his new found fame to influence the founding of his hospital one way or another. Georgette, however, has no intention of letting Hugo leave London without her.
Following a series of misadventures – and several encounters with a very focussed Bow Street Runner – the pair find themselves in Derbyshire and are instantly embroiled in intrigues, not all of which seem to be connected with the treasure. Hugo’s medical and surgical skills are called on a number of times, and Georgette quickly learns to assist him. The discovery of the treasure does not immediately solve anyone’s problems, of course, and the pair have much to learn about self-reliance before achieving their proper happy ending.
I enjoyed this book, in spite of the Derbyshire countryside portrayed in it not feeling quite like my Derbyshire. I felt also that the ending felt a little rushed, though, almost as if the author needed a few more pages in which to show Georgette and Hugo finding themselves, and then finding each other again. I’m still sorry we aren’t going to see these characters in another story – it would be interesting to follow their further adventures, given the plans they make at the end of the book.
Georgette Frost’s time is almost up. On her twenty-first birthday, the protections outlined in her late parents’ will are set to expire. With prospects for employment or marriage unfavorable at best, she decides to leave London and join her brother, Benedict, on a treasure hunt for gold sovereigns stolen from the Royal Mint.
Lord Hugo Starling has always felt protective of his friend Benedict’s sister, Georgette. So when he discovers her dressed in ragged boy’s clothes, about to board a coach for parts unknown, he feels duty bound to join her search. But mystery piles upon mystery as they cross England together, not least of which is the confounded attraction between them. As Georgette leads him to a reward he never expected, Hugo realizes he’s embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime…
Read an excerpt.