When Miss Elizabeth Cantrell is halted by a highwayman as she is journeying across England with her infant son, she is not expecting said highwayman to follow up his nefarious activities with a proposal of marriage. But this highwayman, as it turns out, is none other than Lord Adrian Torrington. His true purpose involves a secret mission for king and country, and this marriage will confuse the spies on his trail. Hoping to find some security for her illegitimate son, Elizabeth agrees to Lord Torrington’s offer. When she reaches Middlecrest Abbey, however, she discovers that her new position as lady of the manor comes with disapproving stepdaughters, an evil mother-in-law, and a murderer on the loose….
This Regency novel explores the burgeoning romance between Adrian and Elizabeth after their marriage of convenience. Elizabeth struggles with her ability to trust Adrian, both because of his past reputation as a rake and because of the secret she carries about the identity of her child’s father. Through it all Adrian, who is several years older than Elizabeth, is unfailingly solicitous of his new wife’s wishes and safety. His own flaws extend mostly to not letting Elizabeth in on his secrets soon enough. Both the romance and the mystery in this book were well-crafted, and I found this a unique and enjoyable take on the ubiquitous Regency romance.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.