You know what? I actually liked this one. I really didn't expect to. It's not great and it definitely suffered from Bedwynitis. First time readers will no doubt be annoyed with the plethora of secondary and tertiary characters who took up space and had little to do with Claudia and Joseph. I'd have been annoyed if I hadn't read the previous books. Maybe this is what most readers want these days--revisiting ad nauseum old favorite characters.
Anyhow, what I did like was the part that was JUST Claudia and Joseph. On the surface here are two people that should have no interest in one another. Yet they're drawn together when Joseph asks Claudia to meet his illigitimate daughter, Lizzie. These sections were the best part of the book and very enjoyable as Claudia and Joseph interact with Lizzie, and one another. In Lizzie's presense they are themselves and their attraction felt real, not forced.
If you're a Mary Balogh fan you're going to read this whether I recommend this or not. If you jumped off the train already, you probably don't want to jump back on for this book. With luck her next series has nary a Bedwyn in sight. And maybe that will mean that the focus can remain on the hero & heroine.
I've got a table runner to finish for a Saturday wedding....