Some say that a phantom haunts Elmstone Manor. A young woman, heavily veild, has been seen walking among the estate's lavish rose gardens. The townspeople are afraid to go there, but Lucien Delacourte has no choice.
In 1777 with the deaths of his wife Katrina and their child Tessa in a tragic Paris fire in which he felt he could have saved their lives, haunted artist Lucien Delacourte leaves France to tutor an English woman. When he arrives at Whitford, he learns from the locals that his destination Elmsford House is haunted by a veiled phantom. The host Lord James Essington is surprised that someone showed up for the position, but welcomes the newcomer anyway.
James abruptly leaves so Lucien wanders around until he sees a mysterious woman wearing veils. He learns she is the earl's sister and his student, Lady Sarah who escorts Lucien on a tour of her gardens. To his amazement she has brought vigor to his life as he enjoys talking with her and needs to see her visage. Lucien learns that she wants to paint her gardening efforts to present as a catalogue to the Royal Botanical Society. Soon he falls in love with her inner beauty though he has yet to see her face. Sarah reciprocates, but knows her beloved mourns his losses.
This Georgian romance is a terrific tale because of the deep characterizations of the prime five (including the Earl's dowager Mom) residing at Elmsford House. Readers can compare the differences between James's amoral wife Julia and his sister hiding behind veils due a tragic accident. Lucien is a wonderful protagonist as he struggles with guilt over his deceased wife and child while falling in love with Sarah, face unseen. Fans will enjoy Donna Birdsell's delightful debut and look forward to more historical romances from this talented newcomer.