Lately there has been quite a swathe of regency romances that are taking on issues to do with the treatment of women at that time. Particularly to do with wives as property and no rights, leaving them open for domestic abuse.
This novel is another such using this background for the story's thrust.
Eleanor Enderby flees from her abusive husband not once, but three times. In her latest attempt she hides out for three months before landing on her sister's doorstep dressed as a youth. She arrives at the same time as Sir Hilary St.John, a suave man about town and entirely eligible parti.
Hil actually spends his time covering up for the Prince Regent when necessary, helping out the Bow Street Runners and at times and taking on investigative requests when interested enough in the problem to seek out the information needed. Eleanor and Hil's attraction is immediate. The relationship that develops between them is not approved of by society. Indeed it fast approaches scandalous and is mentioned in the gossip rags.
However, there is more immediate danger afoot. Eleanor's husband declares her dead and produces a body as proof. He remarries. Is Eleanor safe or will her dreadful, abusive husband find her? What then?
I really liked the lead characters. Hil is a delightful and intelligent leading man. Eleanor is a determined soul looking to make herself anew. I love their frequent quoting of sonnets and ridiculous little by-plays with each other. Their very passionate relationship is decidedly a centrepiece of the story and we are often silent witnesses in the boudoir. I should take a leaf out of Hil's loyal staff's book and not comment.
An intoxicating and enjoyable read.
A NetGalley ARC