Hmm... This one was difficult. Not so much that it was difficult to get through, although the first half was a bit on the boring side, but it was a book that by the time you finished you were unsure on your feelings toward it.
Ethan Andarton, the Marquis of Vessey has a brief encounter with a young woman that is disguised as a boy on his way back to London. The encounter sticks with him for weeks until he sees his mystery woman again at a ball.
Lily Bainbridge faked her own death to avoid an arranged marriage that would profit no one except her evil stepfather. Her encounter with Ethan leaves her shaking but she is a sensible girl and soon forces herself to forget the passionate embrace and caresses Ethan gave her in his carriage. She moves into society as a widow, after claiming an inheritance left to her by her grandfather (I didn't get how she didn't claim it before and how easily it was given to her with out any proof of her marriage).
During Ethan's pursuit of Lily the book just dragged on FOREVER!!! He woos her by showing her how to drive a curricle. He would take her driving every day over the course of a few weeks. When Lily finally gives into Ethan and becomes his mistress things start moving along. I loved that they fell into a sort of domesticity that was comfortable. I could see how they fell in love over time, it was not all about the passion they shared. At the same time I just could not see how it was acceptable for Lily to take on an affair so openly and not suffer ruination, even as a widow.
Anyway, there was a misunderstanding at the end that separates our lovers for about a week, villains show up at her door, Vessey saves the day and all live happily ever after.
A bit too neat for me.