I enjoyed the story but had no trouble putting it down for long periods of time. I generally liked the characters because both of them had such very interesting vocations and either of them could have made for a really, really interesting book. The trouble is – neither of those vocations really had any spark in the story. I think the whole story was just bland. The characters were bland, the plot was bland, there was no real sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat excitement and there wasn’t really any spying. Still, I liked it well enough and never had a thought of just putting it down. That could be because I liked the potential of the characters and the premise of the story and kept waiting for it all to get interesting, exciting, and to – well – happen. I guess the bottom line is that it is a sweet story about two very sweet and caring people – and that is why, in the end, I kept reading.
Laura Hopkins was orphaned at twelve and went to live with her very sweet and loving Aunt Mildred who lived in Clapham where all of the residents had one cause or another. The streets were filled with the voices of those society called radicals. Her aunt supported many of those causes – and Laura did as well. Laura created the persona of Lady Sterling in order to anonymously help employees (mostly women) who had been mistreated and wronged by their employers. As Lady Sterling, she would take something of value from that employer – and would leave them with the firm knowledge that she knew his secrets and if he didn’t change his ways, she’d expose both him and his secrets.
Captain Jeremy Addison, Viscount Sterling, is a spy for the Crown (I wouldn’t call him a spy – he is a code-breaker). His sister admires Lady Sterling, and his mother is dismayed at the name association. Jeremy’s boss, General Zebadiah Scott, tasks him with tracking down Lady Sterling and determining whether she could be a credible asset for the Crown – or a danger.
Laura is on the public stage heading to Kent in order to aid a potential victim when the coach overturns and she is injured. The other passengers help her to travel to the nearest Inn, but there are no accommodations to be had, and she is at a loss about what to do. However, two things happen, and they change the trajectory of her investigation totally. First, the employer who she is investigating, Lord Thornton, arrives at the same Inn – and then, the real Lord Sterling arrives and quickly surmises who she is. Uh-Oh! She quickly manufactures a ruse and hopes Lord Sterling will play along – and luckily, he does. Of course, that ends up meaning they have to play a newlywed couple.
When Jeremy realizes that Lord Thornton could actually figure into one of his own investigations, his support of Laura only increases. You see, Laura is injured and cannot conduct her normal investigations – Jeremy has to do it for her.
Jeremy and Laura fit each other perfectly. Both are very nice, very caring, very supportive, etc. and I enjoyed that synchrony. For me, I liked the story, but I wouldn’t read it a second time. If someone gifts you with this book, by all means, give it a read.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.