Miss Hyacinth Grey has had a quiet life, managing her father's household in Gibraltar. Then she learns that she's heir to a small fortune, left by her grandmother, an infamous courtesan. She sets sail for England with plans to found a charitable school for girls. Her father warns her away from her fellow passenger aboard the Whistler, saying that he's a black sheep from a family of scoundrels.
Thomas Pently, alias Smithson, made his fortune in the East India Company. Then his mistress was murdered, and his aristocratic family summoned him home. He's now second in line to his uncle's duchy, after his aging father.
One stormy day, Thomas leaps into the sea to rescue Hyacinth's young brother. As the storm clears, they kiss on the moonlit decks. Thomas, heartbroken from his lover's death and wary of his future, makes a half-hearted offer of marriage. Hyacinth refuses.
They meet again in London, where Hyacinth discovers Thomas's true identity. Her fashion-obsessed aunt reiterates her father's warning – Thomas can only embroil her in scandal. Thomas's mother urges him to choose a bride fit for a duke – which Hyacinth most certainly is not. Memories of their shipboard friendship and that stolen kiss draw them together again and again, as they find their footing in an unfamiliar home country. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
Please note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of Enchanted Book Promotions.
This is the kind of book to make you wish you lived in the past just for a day to experience a slice of their world. I really enjoyed the historical portrayal and the characters are interesting and bold. Overall, however there were a few short-comings. After adamant resistance, it is not quite clear why Hyacinth finally gives into Thomas’ request for marriage. In addition, there was no challenge or major conflict that I was expecting as the climax of the book. Instead, things are smooth sailing after a certain point and the characters live happily ever after. My major lingering question is: what about the necklace? If this were a mystery novel, I’d say it was a red herring, but as this is a romance, it’s just a distraction. I do not know if there’s an intention of a sequel where “all will be revealed”, but for this book it didn’t add anything to the story.
All that being said, I really enjoyed this book and happily read through it quickly in as few sittings as possible. I think we will see great future books from this author.
Warning: Contains some sexual content
Rating: 3 stars!
Who should read it? Historical romance fans.