“A Single Step” begins with the ideal setting for a romance. Emma Grayson is starting a new life at Melton Manor, a large well organised estate, where she will manage the stables and groom the family horses. She soon meets the large friendly estate staff and despite her reticence to become involved she makes several friends. The only drawback is Trent, the stern Estate Manager, who appears, to the independent Emma, to be controlling and overbearing.
We gradually learn about Emma’s tragic past and why she is reluctant to become involved in a relationship even with the charming and helpful Carlton. She proves herself to be competent and enjoys her life with the horses and the two young children who come to ride.
It is pleasing to see the way in which Em’s prickly exterior is broken down and passion begins to emerge as she is enticed into love in spite of her attempts to sublimate her feelings. But there is evidence that Melton Manor is not paradise after all. Trent and his employer Lord Cavendish disappear for several days at a time, often travelling in a military style helicopter. Emma is involved in an accident caused by a mysterious stranger. She begins to fear for her life and future happiness.
After the first few pages, which brim with self-conscious prose, the book springs to life in the dialogue between Emma and Lord Cavendish. Their characters are quickly established and this made me want to read on. The story is filled with detail, especially about how to look after horses which for me was not especially interesting but the well-crafted plot, strong characterisation and thrilling denouement made this book an excellent read.
My review of the second book in the Grayson trilogy Before the Dawn