The Valet’s Secret by Josi S. Kilpack is a story of second chances and travelling a less-trodden path.
Kenneth Winterton, the owner of a modest estate in 1819 England and a father of two grown-up sons, suddenly finds himself the heir to an earldom, due to the sudden death of his cousin Edward, the original heir. Being ill-prepared for such an occurrence, he struggles to meet all the expectations thrust on him in lieu of his inheritance, which leads him to go impersonating his valet Henry in order to be himself for some time without having to face the disapproval of his uncle, the current earl. He encounters Rebecca Parker during one such sojourn and they both have an instant connection.
Rebecca is a widow, who had gone back to living with her father after her husband’s death. Her daughter is grown up now and she is finding it increasingly difficult to handle her father’s uncertain temper. Not knowing him to be the heir-incumbent earl, she starts having feelings for Kenneth, as they continue their acquaintanceship. Soon enough, she gets to know his true identity and this puts a break in their relationship.
It does not help that Kenneth is compelled both by his uncle and his daughter Lady Beth to find a wife, a local woman of good social standing, who will help him in transitioning to the local gentry seamlessly. With all these odds against pursuing a relationship with Rebecca, Kenneth still finds himself unable to forget her. Does he find his standing in the upper echelon? Does he succumb to societal pressure or does he find the courage to follow his heart and forge his own path? Can Rebecca find the strength within herself to forgive the man and give their relationship a chance? Or will she let the unspoken societal rules stand in the way of her heart’s desire? You must read this book to get to know the answer to these questions.
Kilpack has done a good job of creating distinctive characters and a real-time obstacle to the lead couple’s relationship. I loved Rebecca — she is strong, independent and has innate strength. Kenneth is a nice fellow of good nature; but he does have an indecisiveness and lack of awareness of his actions, which I didn’t find very attractive. I particularly liked that this story is about finding love in one’s ‘twilight’ years, so to speak. Both characters go through personal growth, as they battle their doubts and insecurities.
The story was quite short but still fulfilling. Overall, it’s a lovely read with relatable characters and real-life problems. Do check this book out if you are in the mood for a short, sweet story.
This book gets 4 out of 5 stars.