An adventurous woman’s last-ditch attempt to save the life of a disreputable marquess leads to unforeseen complications.
Georgiana Lucas is rusticating at her friend Kitty’s home when she learns that her host’s husband, Sir Charles Winston, has lost the Derbyshire residence to Robert Churchill-Gray, Marquess of Westmorland, in a game of cards. Kitty has been asked by Charles to barricade herself against the scheming marquess, lest he arrive to claim the property. Georgiana is sure that the high-and-mighty Lord Westmorland, who once passed snobbish remarks against her at a London ball, will not journey so far into the countryside to claim his prize. So when she witnesses a man being beaten by a group of thugs, she rushes to his aid unthinkingly and arranges to bring him to Kitty’s home. But Georgiana is aghast when she recognizes him as the villainous Westmorland. Intent on saving a life and afraid of her fierce friend’s wrath, Georgiana claims that he is her fiance, Viscount Sterling. She hopes to knock sense into Lord Westmorland when he awakes and ensure that he returns the deed of the house to Kitty. But her plans are disrupted when it turns out that the marquess has lost his memory, and located his conscience. As Rob's memory trickles back to him, he decides he's found the woman of his dreams, but he must work hard and fast to ensure that his dreams become reality. Linden skillfully slides in a subtle political statement about the painful impact of patriarchal property laws in the everyday lives of women, but she alludes too hurriedly to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, a traumatic chapter in world history that isn't given enough attention here to make it work. The narrative of the third installment in the Wagers of Sin series (An Earl Like You, 2018, etc.) is replete with tried-and-tested tropes but is witty and unusual enough to be interesting. Although Rob’s rather abrupt evolution strikes a few false notes, Georgiana’s change of heart consistently rings true as she exhibits a wide range of emotions.
A familiar and charming story of loss, transformation, and rediscovery.