Desperate to evade fortune-hunting suitors and hold onto control of her own property, Georgiana Caversteed marries the most convenient of all possible husbands - a convicted felon in Newgate who’s about to be shipped off to the Antipodes.
Or so she thinks.
It turns out that her husband, Ben Wylde, was actually in Newgate undercover for the Bow Street investigators, looking into a smuggling ring and a possible plot to rescue Napoleon from exile on St. Helena. The younger brother of an impoverished earl, he’s definitely not someone Georgiana can disregard, for all her wealth. Soon, she’s finding herself not only inexorably drawn to him, but entangled in his work, unable to resist learning more about the enigmatic man she’s unexpectedly found herself married to.
I’m a bit of a stickler for both historical accuracy and incorrect forms of address, and initially I thought this author had run afoul of both. Definitely Ben, as the younger son of an Earl, wouldn’t be plain Mr. Wylde; he’d be Lord Benedict. And I have to admit I pshawed at the idea of a prototype submarine in the early years of the 19th century, so imagine my astonishment when I checked the history of submarines and realized that not only did the technology exist, but the author had obviously researched and used the career of American inventor Robert Fulton to weave a fascinating mystery into the plot. I was absolutely delighted and promptly forgave the small matter of Benedict’s incorrect address. I love it when authors weave in obscure but fascinating bits of historical fact into their stories and I get to learn something new!
Georgiana and Ben were genuinely well-suited as a couple, intelligent, strong-minded and independent, better as a team than as individuals, and both willing to make adjustments to their lives to accommodate the other. Though there’s an initial attraction between them, the romance itself takes time to grow and there’s lots of opportunity to observe the two of them together and the affection and respect steadily developing. I’m giving this five stars for being an absolutely believable romance between two very likable characters and the bonus of some fascinating quirky historical facts thrown in!
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press.