We’re introduced to an adorable little girl named Melody, when Aiden de Quincy finds her sitting on the front steps of Brown’s Club for Distinguished Gentlemen, a London club where he resides when he’d rather not be at home with his mother, the Dowager Countess, and his cousins who have come for a visit.
Melody has only a small satchel with her few belongings and a note pinned to her coat that reads:
The mony stopped coming from the mother. I can’t keep her no more. The father can take her now. Don’t know his name. He’s a memmber of Brown’s.
After reading the note and surmising her age to be about three years old, he realizes that Melody might just be his child, the result of an affair he’d had some years earlier, an affair that left him with painful memories of the woman who laughed at him when he asked her to marry him. He’d left Madeleine Chandler that day, vowing to himself to forget her and move on with his life, but the memories of those months together weren’t quite so obliging. And now, this new adorable development has him rethinking that vow and searching for the woman who still holds his heart, determined to reunite mother and child and make Maddie his bride.
As I said, this was my first book by this author, and it took me a bit of time to get into it. There were things I definitely loved about this story, and yet at times those same things, in different situations, didn’t work for me. There were moments I was laughing at loud at the ridiculous actions of both Aiden and his almost friend Colin, whom I came to adore, and of course Melody, affectionately nicknamed Little Milady. Her innocent comments and curious nature made for some very sweet moments, but from time to time I felt they were overdone.
Ms. Bradley gave us a great supporting cast in Sir Colin Lambert, Aiden’s friend, Sirs Bartles and James who spent most of the book engrossed in their never ending chess game, Sir Aldrich who wasn't as blind or deaf as he pretended to be, Wilberforce, Brown’s all too observant Chief of Staff, Bailiwick, the shy footman and finally, Sir John Redgrave, also known as Jack, who had gone off to war and returned a broken man. And even though we don’t meet Jack in this book I still came to care a great deal for the man he was and the man he became.
The bottom line – Despite some predictable situations and the occasional too-sweet Melody moments, I really enjoyed this story. Yes, in my opinion it does suffer from a case of the FITs (First in the Series syndrome) but not so much that I had to skim or skip through it. In fact, by the end of the book I felt a deep affection for all of the characters and immediately started reading the second book, Rogue In My Arms.