I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Now, I will admit that I am not a huge fan of historical fiction. Why? I always seem to find the books that either totally ignore history or indecently butcher it, or else I read about times that I quite frankly hate for their treatment of certain parties. However, this blurb tempted me and I am so glad that I bit. Where do I start?
First, the characters. I love, love, love them! I felt so close and connected to Lady Mary, she would do something outrageous or daring and I could see myself doing the exact same thing. Mary was no wilting wallflower, that's for sure. She's courageous, outgoing, and refuses to let her gender and the views of others hold her down, all very admirable traits. As for the rake? Hugh is a gem. He's funny, witty, with a hint of danger. In other words, SEXY! I was drawn to both of these characters, to the point where I'd start trying to give them advice and cheer them on (even though they can't hear me). The various secondary characters were all well done as well, and there are several whom I am hoping to read more about.
Second, the plot. While it may drag a bit at times, I was very thoroughly engaged, trying to find out what would happen next. I read the book in one sitting as I couldn't put it down! There were parts that were confusing and took some going back and re-reading to make sense. And yes, there is a bit of a mystery in the book, so it will leave you guessing. I also liked the plot twist near the end of the book, one last obstacle to true love.
Third, historical relevancy. Now, this is usually where I find the most problems. However, Regan did some excellent research. Regan even included an author's note explaining the various real life historical figures (such as Napoleon and Germaine de Stael) she integrated into her story. The blend of fiction with history was very well done.
Fourth, the sex. The sex was okay but this is the part of the book where the story lagged the most for me. All this drama occurred and then sex scenes (okay, maybe not exactly like that). But I was a bit thrown off. No, it wasn't "here, let's get it on," but it had been building the entire story. My issue was that I was so drawn in to the intrigue that the sex seemed to intrude while I was still trying to process what had happened prior. Other than that though, the sex scenes were well written and didn't go overboard.
All in all though, I greatly enjoyed this book and would gladly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.