Miss Lucy Preston pulls a wounded smuggler from the quicksand of the Lancashire beaches, and she soon rues the day. For the rascal immediately sees through her disguise and that of her heavily veiled companion -- who, indeed, is not a mute, elderly woman but a frightened young lady running from danger and seeking refuge at this remote seaside cottage.
Happily acknowledging he has just landed in a truly fascinating melodrama, Christopher Valliant is determined to aid the fair damsels. For this reformed rake is motivated by the most noble reasons of all: love -- pure and glorious -- for the lovely, temperamental, and ever-so-delightful Lucy!
I recently read Kerstan's Celia's Grand Passion and since this story is about the hero's brother I couldn't resist picking it up next. It has an original plot that resembles that of a gothic story but this one is humourous novel so the resemblance stops there.
Christopher Valliant is saved by a lady masquerading as a lad one night when he is about to drown after having fell under a cart on the beach, during a smuggling operation. He is taken to her house to recover and he realises that there are in fact two ladies, one of whom is always hiding.
Lucy, the supposed lad, is a rather determined young Lady. She does her best to protect her friend Diana, who has been hurt by her uncle and is hiding from an unwanted suitor, and her efforts go as far as to pretend she is the ghost of an old witch to prevent people to approach their cottage. Christopher can't help but admiring her character and eventually he manages to hear the hole story from Diana and is determined to help them loose the evil guardian.
I'm afraid I did not like this story half as much as the other Kerstan book I had read. It may be that part of my problem was that I don't always like funny regencies (unless we are talking about Heyer); I always love best the ones that are dark, poignant and a bit tragic. But most of it was that I thought Christopher and Lucy had no chemistry together. I had a hard time believing they had fallen in love and made it a bit of a chore to finish it. I was glad to see Celia and her husband again though and I ended up a bit curious about Diana so I might try to track her book down one of these days.