Hugh Cassidy is an ambitious man. He knows exactly what he wants from life, he’s going to run for mayor of his hometown, from thence devote his life to politics. While his parents may not have been particularly distinguished, they clearly loved one another and raised Hugh and his siblings to believe in hard work, as well being moral and upstanding people. Hugh is in England to try to track down the runaway daughter of a good friend (and as the story progresses it becomes clear that there may have been some form of sentimental attachment between Hugh and the young lady), and while he’s travelling around, he’s using the comfortable Palace of the Thames as his home base. Complications involving the beautiful high-born daughter of a nobleman complicating were the last thing Hugh expected to face.
Lady Lillias, the eldest daughter of the Earl and Countess of Vaughn, is both angry and frustrated. Stuck in some pokey boarding house near the docks just because her idiot brother decided to bring a snake home and a large hole was shot in their wall, she now finds herself confined to her chambers, chastised like a naughty child, just because some insufferable American caught her in the garden, smoking a cheroot. Hugh Cassidy may be tall, trapping, and very handsome, but as far as Lillias is concerned, he may as well be the devil, having tattled to her parents and gotten her barred from shopping, socialising, and anything else that could make her involuntary exile somewhat more bearable. All the while, the gossip sheets are speculating about her absence, not to mention what advantageous match she is likely to make during the end of the season. Of course, no one, not even Lillias’ family, knows that she’s nursing a broken heart, convinced that she’ll never really find love, as the only person she’s ever felt close to seems likely to offer for another.
Hugh and Lillias may not seem like an obvious match, and while this was a perfectly fine romance novel, I must admit I found it rather lacking compared to Long’s previous entries in The Palace of Rogues series so far. The book is probably still better than the most forgettable of her Pennyroyal Green books, but nevertheless, a diverting read, if a bit slow to start.
Full review on my blog.