Sparing of words, sharp of eye, and sturdy as an oak tree, Nicholas Brentwood is one of Bow Street’s finest. Bow Street does not pay exceptionally well, however, and as his beloved sister lies dying, he is unable to care for her as he would like. When a rich merchant offers a fine stipend to watch over his wayward daughter, Brentwood jumps at the chance to earn a few hundred pounds. He soon finds that he will have to do more than escort the lady to a few balls as he uncovers plots, thwarts kidnappings, and does all in his power to save the life and virtue of the adorable and deplorable Emily Payne.
Miss Emily Payne has always been indulged in everything she wants–except love and attention from her father. When he sets sail on a trip unexpectedly, she finds herself forced to obey the stringent commands of her new guardian, Mr. Brentwood. Bridling against the lawman’s interference, she continues her plan to enjoy a London season and make an advantageous marriage…only to discover that Nicholas Brentwood is a shrewder judge of character than she is where both gentlemen and villains are concerned. As the plots surrounding her household mount, Emily must discern who to trust and where to turn, and learn that God cares for her even more than does her avenging shadow, Nicholas Brentwood.
This Regency Era novel is rich with detail and peopled with memorable characters. Although Emily is certainly spoiled and foolish, she is not as annoying as one might predict. The romance between her and Brentwood is consistently adversarial, with sparks flying like stars across the pages. Brentwood’s bulldog-like tenacity is admirable as well as his solicitous care for Emily’s safety. This book was an enjoyable read and shows a seamier side of Regency London than novels like Georgette Heyer’s.
See also my review of The Innkeeper’s Daughter (The Bow Street Runners #2) by Michelle Griep.