England, 1763. The Earl of Salt Hendon and squire’s daughter Jane Despard share a secret past of mistrust and heartache. Forced into a marriage neither wants, the patient and ever optimistic Jane believes love conquers all; the Earl will take some convincing. Enter Diana St. John, who will go to extremes, even murder, to hold the Earl’s attention. Can the newlyweds overcome past prejudices and sinister opposition to fall in love all over again?
Rating: 4 Stars
This book starts off with Jane the main character at the age of 18 going through a miscarriage. She is given a medical concoction for this. We learn that Jane’s nurse who gave her the medicine was told it was to help with the morning sickness but it was actually given to start labour pain and abort the child. Jane’s father decides to do this as he is disgraced that his 18 year old unwed daughter was with child and she will not tell him who the child’s father is. The way this scene was written actually made me cry. The writing in this book is just so good.
Fastforward 4 years and Jane is living with minimum comforts in her uncle’s house who has just passed away. She was thrown out of her father’s house due to her disgrace. Jane has to marry as in her uncle’s will, Tom her step brother cannot inherit the money he needs without her marrying. She is due to marry Salt as he made a promise to her dying father. Salt and Jane have history, I mean who else could have been her unborn child’s father? Jane thinks Salt seduced and then left her and Salt thinks Jane told her father of their ‘affair’ and betrayed him by moving on under the ‘protection’ of Mr Allerton who is her uncle due to her disgrace. Misunderstanding anyone?
I really did not like Salt as a character at the start of this book, I actually hated him and I could not see myself warming up to his character. Lucinda Brant however managed to redeem him in her writing and change my opinion of him through the book though. I wanted him to have a happy ending.
I liked Jane, she in a way did not hold grudges and she firmly believes in looking to the future not living in the past which is nice. However I did think Jane forgave Salt too quickly, she suffered not on losing a child and had to listen to all his cruel remarks at the start of the book, I wanted to see more grovelling from him. I just think Salt was forgiven too early in the book for my liking. If you are looking to a strong kick ass heroine then Jane is not it, she is lovely and nice.
I enjoyed the secondary characters in the book, especially Jane’s step brother Tom. He is one of my favourite characters and I hope he is in the next book in this series. The villain in this book is very melodramatic, Lady Diane St John is mentally unstable and has loved and wanted to be with Salt for years and so will do anything to achieve that goal.
One of my problems with this book is what they decide to do with the villain at the end, I disagree with it. She should have been punished either by hanging or by the law or banished somewhere completely remote and out of country. That is not what I would have done and I think has that really solved the problem? The answer is no because I have just read the synopsis of the next book and guess what the Lady Diane is back.
I will be reading the 2nd book in this series too, I have to admit I broke my rule about buying a new book when I have read 5 but I had to buy the next book to see what happens. Plus in my defence it is an ebook and not going to take up space on my book shelf. The next book in the series is based on Caroline and Anthony, but I hope we get some updates about Salt and Jane.
This was a very well-written book, it is set in the Georgian Era. The descriptions of what it was like back then and how things were were good and I believe well researched.