Sally MacKenzie returns once again to delight us with her version of how things were in Regency England. She introduces us to a strong-minded woman who doesn’t want to get married, but would rather live on her own and to a man with a reputation for being a rake while the truth is quite different. Sally MacKenzie has a way of blending historical details with a sense of humor. She doesn’t allow her characters or her readers to take her books too seriously.
Frances Hadley just can’t imagine what her aunt was thinking helping a man with no prospects plan to compromise her. Frances is appalled that she would be put in such a position and knows that her only hope is to make it to London and with her brother’s help, get her solicitor to release her dowry so she can live on her own far away from her family. Of course, setting out as a woman alone would be the absolutely worse thing she can do so Frances borrows some old clothes and heads out dressed as a boy. She is sure that the journey will only take a few hours, but of course, she runs into bad weather and has to spend the night at an inn. This wouldn’t be so bad since the proprietors are quite lovely except that the inn is full and she ends up having to share her bed and her room with the most notorious rake in all of London.
Jack Valentine can’t wait to leave his mother’s dance. She is well known as a matchmaker and he isn’t ready to be married just yet. Jack has seen the awful results of his siblings’ early marriages and he plans to remain single for quite a few years yet. What he doesn’t expect is to get caught out in the weather and have to spend the night sharing a room and a bed with a young boy. Jack is appalled to discover that the youngster is traveling to London alone and insists that the boy accompany him.
What transpires between Jack and Frances can only be described as an intriguing caper. These two people each have secrets that they are trying to hide from each other and from society. What happens when those secrets are revealed shows the true measure of these two people.
I loved every minute of this book. I had to keep reading just to see how they would resolve all of their issues. Taking two people who don’t want to be married and placing them in the most compromising position possible for this time period is genius. Watching Jack and Frances cope with not only their feelings for each other, but also their interfering, but well meaning families was at time laugh out loud funny.