Lady Arabella Blydon is staying with her newly married cousin in the country when she runs into the brooding and mysterious Lord John Blackwood, a former war hero who turns out to be friends with her cousin’s husband. She quickly ascertains that he is just as attracted to her as she is to him, and cannot understand why he refuses to give in and admit his feelings. Frustrated that he seems utterly besotted by her one second and determined to stay away from her the next, she devises a plan to make him declare his intentions once and for all.
John Blackwood is tormented by the events of his past and has nightmares about some of the dreadful situations he was helpless to prevent as a soldier. As a younger son, he’s not entirely sure he feels like he deserves the title and estate he’s been granted by the crown as thanks for his service. When he meets Lady Arabella, he is instantly smitten, both by her beauty and her intelligence, but he knows he could never be deserving of her and does his best to try to convince her of this fact. When he hears that she has returned to London and likely close to a betrothal with another man, he doesn’t waste much time in getting to the capital to win his lady.
Since Netflix adapted Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I into the first season of the very popular Bridgerton, she’s been mentioned in a lot of articles recently. She’s been writing Regency romances since 1995, publishing more than 30 different stories (if you count books and novellas), yet this novel is only her second one ever. While I have greatly enjoyed a lot of Quinn’s novels since I rediscovered my love of romance novels in 2007-2008, it really shows that this is an early effort of hers, and neither the plotting, characterisation, or wit from many of her later novels is really present here.
Full review here.