Staplewood Park

Michelle Grahame

Publisher: AuthorHouse Pages: 274 Price: (paperback) $15.85 ISBN: 9781728375496 Reviewed: May, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

A blend of mystery and romance, Michelle Grahame’s historical novel, Staplewood Park, follows the romantic journey between a widow and lord as they work to uncover the identity of a man found injured on the side of the road.

During a break from school, Nicholas, son of Lord Charles Hargreaves, loses control of his horse-drawn carriage and collides with a man on his way back to his family’s estate. The collision knocks the man unconscious in a ditch. Nicholas rushes home for help, and with his father’s assistance, returns to search for the man, but he’s vanished.

The widowed mistress of Mairsford Manor, Rosalie, finds the unidentified man in her home’s drive and comes to his aid, discovering that he has amnesia and can’t recall his identity. The sole clue is a signet ring bearing the letter M, and Rosalie names him Matthew.

After learning of Matthew’s location, Hargreaves assumes his care, feeling responsible for his son’s role in the accident. He also tries to solve a mystery surrounding Staplewood Park, which he unexpectedly inherited after the death of the former owner; Hargreaves’ curiosity was sparked when Rosalie’s niece, Julia, accidentally stumbled upon an underground chamber on the property.

Meanwhile, solicitor Steven Pettigrew is searching for Matthew (which turns out to be his real name.). After Pettigrew is contacted by a shipping company regarding a trunk owned by Matthew, the man’s past begins to come into focus. And as Hargreaves and Rosalie uncover Matthew’s identity, their growing closeness sparks a romance.

Grahame adeptly manages the mystery and romance elements, but the slow, gradual pace needs more action to sustain continuous engagement. Nevertheless, the storyline’s complexities and supporting characters prevent complete disengagement. A love story between Matthew and Julia adds an extra layer of charm, and Bedford, Hargreaves’ sister’s dog, brings the narrative an endearing quality.

Despite the story’s unhurried pace, historical romance fans should appreciate the nuanced fusion of mystery and romance Grahame offers here.

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