4.5/5.0, but it's teetering just the same!
Explanations are not really necessary with this book, adjectives are.... Rich, luscious, heart-breaking, hear-warming, addictive, sigh-worthy, intelligent, the list could go on and on with nary a hesitation. But, since most expect an actual review and not just emotional word-praise, here goes:
When her guardian dies, Jane Despard is faced with marrying the Earl of Salt Hendon ("Salt," as he is known) or her beloved step-brother will be faced with selling everything his family has worked for. Now, that sounds like your average historical romance set up, doesn't it? Don't. Be . Fooled! Ms. Brant has tweeked this story with so many unsuspected caveats and graced it with so much emotional angst (I know, the adjectives again) that the story becomes completely unique. From Salt's despicable opinion of Jane to the past that defines and dooms her future, this story grabs you, wrenches the emotions right out and leaves you teary one moment, determined the next and always, yes always, turning those pages!
The only hiccup (and it's a small one) might be in the rather melodramatic climax. It stretched out a little long in the believability factor, ( they're STILL not getting it?!?! ) That's it. This is one of the best indie books I've read in a while and Ms. Brand is most assuredly one of the brightest stars on that ever growing horizon.