The second book in the Ryland brother series, this one is about North Sheffield-Ryland and Lady Octavia Vaux-Daventry. All four books are terrific, but this one is definitely my favorite. One of the reasons it's so good is because North was born "on the wrong side of the blanket," so he's not a gentleman. Nor does he want to be or pretend to be one, either. Very sexy, very sensual, lots of angst and such a great deal of feeling between North and Octavia. Beautifully written and a great story all the way around. If you like Mary Balogh's books you'll love Kathryn Smith's, too. (And if you *haven't* read any of Mary Balogh's books you're missing out on one of the greatest romance writers alive. Seriously.)
I recently re-read this book and realized it was much more of a "keeper" than I realized when first read. Something in the story of these two childhood friends who knew love as teens and fell in love as adults - really resonated. I thought this book initially mildly entertaining but didn't think it was a winner. But the story stayed with me in the many months since I first read it and I found it even better on second reading.
That said, I thought North treated Octavia badly toward the end and I thought she forgave him too easily - on multiple occasions. I thought he should have been begging forgiveness for being such an ass.
The resolution of the core "danger" in the story was convoluted with a couple of scenes that I didn't quite understand.
But overall this story is about a friendship and a love and that had a poignancy that really stuck with me.