Summary (from back cover):
When Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he couldn't be more mistaken--the maid is not only a lady of birth, she's the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentleman, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle.
Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine's utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife's transformation from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately each of them wonders if theirs may become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted. As a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?
I decided to read this book because I really enjoyed Sara's last book, Courting Miss Lancaster, which I read because I met Sara at a writing conference and really enjoyed her as a person. It actually took me two trips to Deseret Book to finally purchase this novel because the first time I went they didn't have it. If you decide to buy it, you may want to check Deseret Book (or Seagull) online or call the store first, although it's selling really well so the bookstore may be making more of an effort to keep it in-stock.
This story has the same light, funny quality that her other book has, so if you've read one of her novels before and enjoyed it, you'll most likely enjoy this one as well (it even makes reference to some of the characters from her other books). However it does have some darker characters- specifically the Uncle who beats and abuses Catherine.
In the beginning of the novel, Catherine is a flawed heroine-- injured from a life of child abuse-- which is a-typical of most of the Regency books I've read. Sure, a lot of times the main character is the underdog for some reason (lack of wealth, a disreputable family member, etc.), but they're rarely as damaged as Catherine appears to be. I think Sara does a great job of making Catherine seem like a realistic character- someone you believe has truly been injured but is likable enough to make you also believe they're capable of having a happy ending.
The story is fast-paced (I read it in one day) and enjoyable.
I think this is the perfect read for someone who is a fan of Jane Austen and Regency romance in general. Sara Eden does a great job of writing stories that are in keeping with the traditions of that time period and it's obvious in reading her books that she's done her research. I look forward to reading more novels from her and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who might be interested.