I was quite impressed by this short story and its simple, unpretentious love story. I've been reading a lot of popular, highly successful historical romance lately, and I thought this story compared very well, even surpassing the other big-name author at times. The writing is masterful in its streamlined simplicity, and the level of detail in narration, dialogue, and description struck me as utterly authentic and without any modern romanticization. It was clear to me the author knows her stuff but didn't need to show off nor condescend to her audience's intelligence.
I also appreciated the smooth, undramatic transition into the Highcrosses' financial woes. It doesn't need any more forewarning or set-up after the recounting of their purchases and how they couldn't bear to even have last year's styles in their furniture. They spent so extravagantly, the reader is wondering when reality will hit, and so when the creditors arrive, it brings a pleasant sense of justice.
The only criticism I have is that it seems too short -- I was ready to enjoy a much longer story when I reached the last page. And while the implied conclusion is clear as Mr. Clay relates his prospects and they walk into the house, it might have been more satisfying to see the actual commitment of their relationship -- a romantic climax at any level, more than simply leaning on his arm.
I anticipate much more from the author.