Cover comment: I know folks are getting sick of half-heads, but I think this perfectly captures the promise and peril Simon represents to Lucy, right down to the slithery “Rs” in the title font.
Setting: Eighteenth century Georgian England, both rural Maiden Hill and London
Main characters: Lucy Craddock-Hayes, sensible but impressionable virgin daughter of a widowed sea captain, living in rural England, and Viscount Simon Iddesleigh, who presents as a gorgeous, if slightly jaded, dandy with a self-deprecating sense of humor — a persona which serves as cover for some deep insecurities, a tragic recent past, and some very bloody secrets.
Plot: Opposites attract in Lucy and Simon, and they come together more or less straightforwardly, but his secret pursuit of revenge against his brother’s killers presents a huge challenge to their growing bond.
Distinctive features: 18th century setting (powdered wigs and man hose!); marriage represents midpoint, not culmination, of relationship development; hero is a cold blooded killer and his duels are not romanticized; and (I can’t resist adding this) the hero “jostles his elder” after spying our heroine in her conveniently located “kitchen bathtub”!