The plot of Viscount's Surprise by Anne Marie Novark will come as no surprise to most readers, and the story is not helped by a cast of moderately annoying characters and a not-so-surprising-or-actually-plausible plot twist.
Phil(omena) has been living as a boy for more than ten years, since her mother died and her father decided it would be easier to keep his daughter safe and close to him if nobody knew she was female. She's employed by Lady Hembrough as a groom. Anthony, Viscount Hembrough, has made one of his rare trips to London from his estates in Ireland. The purpose of this trip is mainly to find a new groom, since his last one was killed trying to keep the horses safe and under control. When he visits his mother and borrows her newly promoted groom for a ride, he is impressed by Phil's deft hand with horses, which keeps her safe when the horses spook in a manner not unlike when his first groom was killed. He proceeds to hire the groom for the next month.
Thus begins the story of Phil and Anthony. As they head to the home of his friend Lord Larkin (a levelheaded man with period-appropriate views who nevertheless comes across as kind of a jerk), Phil gets injured, Anthony discovers her secret, Phil is embarrassed, Anthony is a (nearly) perfect gentleman, and they fall madly in love.
In under a week.
This story suffered greatly from the rushed nature of the romance and plot. I am firmly of the opinion that authors should not write novellas if they can't create a story that fits the shorter length, and in this case Ms. Novark failed. Phil has spent ten years as a boy, and yet we get no insight into what it was like for her. Anthony has spent most of his time at his estates in Ireland, but we see none of why he chooses to live there. It felt like half of their relationship was built on physical attraction and half on their mutual love of horses, with little personality outside of their mutual eccentricity, a discovery of their mutual love and lots of angsting about her being a commoner. Then there were a few errors in era-appropriateness. For example, I'm relatively certain that (SPOILER) the unknown and unrecognized bastard daughter of a dead nobleman who has spent her life as a servant is not going to be much more socially acceptable than a regular servant.
I understand that this story was short, but it could have been much better executed. I'd probably read this as a longer book, but only if it cost me under a dollar.