A sheltered life in the countryside has left Diana Lindsay restless to see the wider world, for both herself and the son she is raising alone. She cannot marry, but perhaps as a courtesan she will find love and protection despite her painful past. Gathering her courage, she moves to London--and finds herself the city's most desired woman, as admired for her charm as for her beauty. But it is one man who captivates her--handsome, haunted, and harboring a secret as deep as her own . . .
Bound by the sins of his youth, Gervase Brandelin, the Viscount St. Aubyn, has spent his adulthood seeking redemption through service to England. Now a spymaster, he can allow nothing to distract him from his duty. But when he meets Diana, his burdens seem to lift. Though she can never truly be his alone, their genuine love fills him with hope, until a treacherous deceit--and a deadly enemy--threatens to tear them
apart forever . . .
I've got very mixed feelings when it comes to this book. On the one hand, there were long passages of it that I really enjoyed reading and I loved the dynamic and the feelings of the protagonists towards each other. On the other hand, well, right at the beginning, drunk and furious or not, the hero commits an, in my eyes, unpardonable crime. Considering the fact that this situation left him with a very young wife who he never wanted to see again - a promise that he keeps till ...well. Leaving his young wife behind, never looking back - nope, even considering the circumstances this was unforgivable and absolutely not acceptable.
When we meet the heroine, Diana Lindsay, she is raising her young son alone in the countryside, longing to see more of the world. Why she thinks that her idea of a, let's say, working vacation as a courtesan in London is an even remotely acceptable idea,...? I have no idea because it really doesn't make sense especially as she has her son to consider who already has to deal with his bouts of epilepsy which is not easy in our days and was even more difficult in those times. I really liked Geoffrey, he was a very strong character and to see how he dealt with his illness was amazing.
Okay, at least our hero and our heroine meet each other that way and fall in love. That would be nice if the circumstances were different. Oh, well, even that might have worked if we don't look at the time in which it is set and ...right. Soooo...why the heroine doesn't want to make a commitment and thinks that it is necessary for him to feel unsure about her feelings in order to be able to acknowledge his own... nope. It didn't really make sense in my eyes.
Despite their deficiencies, I really liked all of these characters (yes, even Gervase, our hero had redeeming qualities if you got to know him) but the whole story felt constructed and a bit off. There were just too many different topics to deal with. There were different kinds of abuse and rape, there were epilepsy and madness, spies and traitors, homosexuality and ...the list goes on.
No, even though I really love the other books by Mary Jo Putney that I've read and I've read quite a few already, this one is not one that I'd recommend.