I am a Laura Kinsale fan, but I did not enjoy this book. There were several times when I felt she just dropped the reader into a scene without any preparation--leaving the reader with a feeling of disconnect. I found the heroine to be single-mindedly naive and the hero's actions to be downright bizarre at times. Also, the author attempted to make the book epic in scope and spread the action out over more than a year, but most of the time I found myself asking "Are we there yet?"
I have been bingeing on Laura Kinsale books since I read "Flowers From the Storm", all seeking something to read after Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Until Kinsale I had found no books that developed characters of any interest compared to the Outlander characters. Kinsale comes the closest I have found, not really the same and not in the same genre (Kinsale's books are truly romance novels and Outlander defies characterization) but literate, well-written, and with interesting, surprising, and complicated plots. This is so far (after having read four) my favorite of her books, although I also loved Flowers.
The hero of this novel is an interesting man and I grew to love him and his flaws. The heroine is naive and sometimes annoying--Kinsale tends to make women less attractive in personality than her men--but she ends up being persuasive. While I have a picture in my mind's eye of the hero, Sheridan Drake, however, I never could picture exactly what Olympia St. Leger looks like. She is supposed to be plump and not really that beautiful, so it's hard to see his strong need for her. But maybe I misunderstand the description.
Anyway I like this book very much even though sometimes the plot twists, which never cease, caused an emotional roller coaster for me. As always with Kinsale, however, there is a Happily Ever After ending, so a reader knows that the downs will be followed by ups.
I recommend this for hard-to-please literate readers of the type who enjoy classics such as "Jane Eyre" and Jane Austen novels, as well as to the Outlander community, who are always desperate for something to read while waiting for the next installment of the Fraser saga.