As the book opens, Julia Hale is abandoned and destitute, trying to make her way back to friends and family in London with a baby in tow. The story gradually unfolds to reveal that Julia, after eloping to Gretna Green with Thomas Hale, no longer knows where he is. Is he the worthless rake her family thinks he is, or does he still love her?
Imprisoned in a Spanish jail, Thomas yearns to get back across the Channel and reunite with his beloved Julia. The secret mission he went on didn’t go as planned, and he hopes that he left her with enough money to survive during his absence. Plagued by guilt over past actions, Thomas escapes to England, only to find out that the plot against his life may threaten Julia too.
The plot of this Regency is extremely unusual. Thomas and Julia are an unwise couple who married in haste and may in fact be repenting at leisure. Both have a lot to learn about love, each other, and God. It is several other characters besides the hero and heroine who exert most of the agency in the story, redeeming both the couple and the situation. While one can appreciate the redemption in the story, the evangelical message is a little heavy-handed, sacrificing historicity (religious sensibilities in 1800s England were different than today) for intelligibility to the modern reader. This book is the third in a series. I did feel a little at sea in parts when characters from the previous installments came into the story, but for the most part, I was able to follow what was happening.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.