Cover comment: This one (from the 2003 rerelease) is pretty bland. You already know how I feel about the older cover.
Setting: Wyckerley, rural England, 19th century
Series?: Yes, this is book two in Gaffney’s 3 book Wyckerley series.
Hero and Heroine: Sebastian Verlaine, Viscount D’Aubrey, handsome aimless aristocrat, a rake bored of his usual entertainments and looking for something new. Think the John Malkovich character in the film Dangerous Liaisons, also, coincidentally(?), a Viscount Sebastian (or, for you youngsters, the Ryan Phillippe version of Sebastian in Cruel Intentions). Mrs. Rachel Wade, 28 years old, recently released from an unjust 10 year prison sentence for murdering her husband, a shell of a person when we meet her, thanks to 10 plus years of victimization on too many levels to count.
Plot: Sebastian hires Rachel as his housekeeper in order to have a sexual and psychological plaything, and for other subconscious reasons which only become clear to him later in the book. Rachel agrees in order to stay out of prison. The main focus of the novel is their unfolding relationship, with a subplot involving a conspiracy to send her back to prison, a fate Rachael considers worse than death.
Distinctive Features: You mean you don’t know? This is probably the most infamous romance of the modern era (it was published in 1995), because the hero rapes the heroine. This book will be triggering for some readers, and you can read all about why I loathe that expression in the this post.