This book took me a while to plow through, and I nearly gave up halfway. Not that it's badly written - it isn't, apart from some dodgy Americanisms inserting themselves into England of the 1700s - but the pacing seems rather off for the first half. However, the second half picks up considerably, and the novel becomes much more enjoyable.
Lucy Craddock-Hayes is having
just another normal day in her life in a village when she comes across a naked dead man lying by the side of the road. She discovers fairly quickly that he isn't dead and has him taken to her home, where she tends him. As soon as the man regains consciousness, she learns that he is Viscount Iddesleigh, and he's a witty and charming man. Lucy's father is suspicious of the viscount, but he and Lucy spend time together amicably before he leaves in a hurry, his life having been threatened again, and Lucy's indirectly. It seems that Simon, Viscount Iddesleigh, has been on some kind of personal revenge mission against the people responsible for his brother Ethan's death, and that these people may be striking back. The second half of the book takes place in London, where we discover the ringleader behind the death of Ethan and the more recent attacks on Simon. There is far more action with duels, intrigues and Lucy's rather static role as Simon chases round London, beset by his demons and the memory of his dead brother.
I was never entirely sure of the characters of either Lucy or Simon. Somehow they always seem a little indistinct, and Simon's motives in marrying Lucy
aren't always clear. What is it about her that attracts him so much, apart from her plain speaking? However, in the second part of the book I found Simon far more believable - although also seeming rather different than his character in the first half - a man tortured by the death of his brother and by his revenge, fearing that he is evil and yet feeling that in honor he has to continue his avenging mission. Lucy's occasional vacillations about whether she can live with Simon or not are annoying, but overall this book is a good read once the story really gets going.