Lady Jane Cummings has been mourning her mother’s death for a long time when she’s finally allowed back into society. Before she gets much of a chance to enjoy the balls and garden parties, however, her brother Jason returns from his Grand Tour on the Continent and insists that she take their ailing father, the Duke of Rayne north to their summer residence in Merrymere in the Lake District. He’s terrified that someone in society will discover that the respected Duke is losing his wits and while Jason’s plan involves Jane taking care of it (as she has done since before their mother died), she insists that he has to come with them.
Jane is not happy about having to give up the glamour of London for the backwaters of the Lake District, especially as everyone there has known her since she was little and delights in bringing up the time she was five and ran naked through the town square. She’s still grieving her mother and getting increasingly more worried about her father’s health, while her irresponsible brother seems mostly content to get drunk at local pubs and leave her to take care of everything. She is intrigued by stories of a reclusive and stand-offish new resident in the area, who may or may not be a highwayman as well. When she discovers that this man rescued her brother from a pub brawl, she goes to thank him, and discovers that she knows who he is. She met Byrne Worth, injured war hero, when he was helping his brother Marcus and Jane’s former nemesis Phillipa Benning look for a French spy.
Now he seems content to brood and alienate the locals in a small cottage he inherited from a distant relative. Jane thinks the rumours of Worth being the local highwayman are preposterous, especially since she knows he was in London when some of the crimes were committed and sets out to prove that Mr. Worth is innocent. Soon she’s not missing London society much at all, and instead looking forward to every new meeting she can steal with the cranky Mr. Worth.
Full review here.