The Battle of Waterloo changed Viola Carroll’s life, because everyone believes she died there. In fact, after recovering from her wounds, she made the bold decision to walk away from her inheritance and her title and into a new life: She was finally free to live as a woman. Unbeknownst to her, however, her best friend’s life was also changed by the loss of the friend he thinks he left on the battlefield. Justin de Vere, Duke of Gracewood, hides in the country, debilitated by symptoms of PTSD, terrible war injuries, and an addiction to laudanum and alcohol. His would be a solitary life except that he still serves as his sister Miranda’s guardian. When Miranda writes to Lady Marleigh, Viola’s sister-in-law, describing her brother’s decline over the past two years, Lady Marleigh decides that she and Viola (who now serves as her paid companion) must go save Miranda. Viola is terrified to travel, not only because Gracewood thinks his best friend is dead, but also because he’s never known her as a woman. When they arrive, Gracewood is depressed, drunk, and doesn’t realize he already knows Viola, so she agrees when Lady Marleigh suggests she try to help him get better. From their respective hiding places, Viola and Gracewood find they share an undeniable connection; eventually Gracewood realizes he’s known Viola his whole life, and the best friends begin to fall in love despite the complications. Author Hall is a consistently beautiful writer, but this story, the first in a new series, may be his best yet. The plot elegantly balances period details and classic tropes to create a queer love story with a pitch-perfect blend of reality and hope. Though the steamy intimate scenes are electric, the story’s momentum comes not from Viola and Gracewood’s slow burn but from the genuine emotional connections among a full cast of charming characters. Despite the centering of Viola and Gracewood’s love story, this is a book that celebrates the many ways people love and are loved. The story is complex and long but never lags, and readers will be glued to the book through the satisfying epilogue. As a bonus, Hall also wrote the funny, insightful discussion questions at the back, allowing readers space to dwell a bit longer on the story.