I misremembered this one somewhat, as I’d expected more time spent in the castle that actually only comes in about halfway through. It does speak well of Stewart’s usual ability to evoke an atmosphere; the castle/hotel works perfectly, and so does the circus. There’s not as much of a sense of landscape, though; it feels like it could be set anywhere, at least until the ending with the night time chase and the train lines on the mountain.
I remembered all too well why the romance in this bothered me. The couple are already married, and not estranged, but it turns out that he’s been keeping a big secret. I did like that she played along, didn’t blow his cover — Stewart’s heroines are often better at this sort of thing than you’d expect, even if it is in a rather ‘I’ll do anything for my man’ sort of way. I don’t like that he’s hidden all this from her and she thinks that’s okay, that they barely talk about it before he’s forgiven; I hate that suddenly he gets to beat people up ‘for’ her and that’s romantic. Gah. Bad taste in my mouth. And worse because she likes it.
Not my favourite Stewart romance at all; it lacks a lot of the charm. The saving grace is the horses: that story is poignant and enough to get invested in. The ending is, thus, perfect. Just keep the main couple out of it and finish with the horse.