Miss Augusta Webb was a chit of a girl when she fell in love
with handsome, dashing Robert Darnley. She believed his vows, steeled herself to defy her family for him -- only to have him vanish along with her faith in love and her dreams of happiness. Augusta was a woman now, beautiful, sophisticated, an author of enthralling romances, and pursued by suitors she scorned. She told herself that she detested Mr. Darnley and would never let herself be hurt by such a man again. But when she fled the distractions of London for the calm of a seaside cottage to finish her latest romance, she found herself face to face
with Robert Darnley again -- and now there could be no escape from testing the
strength of her proud resolve against the strength of his hold upon her
I found the back blurb of this book very misleading. Although the book alludes to the events that took place 10 years ago it does so only briefly. Besides the reference to it when the two main characters first meet again, there is no more mention of it except on a very guarded conversation where, to my view, nothing really is explained.
Besides that, Augusta, who I feel should be at least a bit upset and demanding explanations, seems to forget the matter as soon as her brother tells her their father must have had a hand in the fact that she waited in vain, with her bags packed, for Darnley to appear so that they could run away to Gretna Green. At the very least I would expect a full explanation of Darnley on why didn’t he show up and why he never even contacted her later on… after all he was supposed to love her.
However, the book ends up not being about their past. When they meet again Darnley is the guardian of Lady Towson, a nineteen year old girl who is a lady in her own right and owns the cottage where Augusta is staying with her brother and companion. Since they now move in the same social circles and Augusta’s brother is quite taken with the girl they are thrown together often. A perfect opportunity to explain the past I thought, but no, they just pretend nothing happened and deal civilly with each other.
There’s a convoluted mystery about some secrets sold to Napoleon and a French relation of Lady Towson who comes back to woo her and maybe something more. I must say I was never very interested in the mystery and it seemed to me just another plot device to have Augusta and Darnley working together.
In the end we don’t even see them falling in love again, I was unsure if the author was trying to convince me that they had never been out of love or if they suddenly just fell in love again. There was no tension and I never really felt the attraction.
I think the most funny parts were with Augusta writing her new book about a heroine named Horrida. The name just makes me giggle. Still not good enough.