Jane Chatham is a gentlewoman
down on her luck and without family upon whom she can rely. She realizes that she may
be able to make enough money to live on by giving dancing lessons to the
children of the nobility, and she has measured success at this - enough to keep her
off the breadline. However, when she comes to the notice of various gentlemen as
she gives dancing lessons at the home of Lady Harwood, she finds herself in
the middle of some gentle espionage. Simon Atwood, Lord Granger, asks her to
give him information on various people who are flocking around Lady Harwood.
Espionage is catching. In due course, Lady Harwood and Viscount Delancey also ask Jane to spy for them. Jane has loyalty to her original employer,
though, and keeps in touch with Simon. As they spend more time together, it looks like Jane's reputation might be damaged beyond repair
- but as Simon has apparently been damaged beyond repair following imprisonment and torture by the French, what chance does she have to smoothe her life out? And who might be trying to kill Simon?
In this gentle story, events float along with few really exciting moments. The relationship between Simon and Jane feels a bit woolly with no obvious reason apart from physical appearance for the two to be attracted to each other. Jane's strange mix of naivete and common sense and Simon's actions often seem a bit strange. He
goes to great efforts to disguise himself then keeps putting Jane in dodgy situations. The spying plot doesn't work very well to this reader, with the unmasking of the villain no surprise at all. The plot device of Lady Harwood's salons also feels contrived, as do Jane's various mishaps. All in all, this
is an inoffensive book but with little really to recommend it.