In Regency England, the conventional daughter of an army major finds herself rescued from roving bandits by a dashing officer from General Wellington's staff. But even as the officer courts the young lady, he is haunted by his status as a bastard son to the Earl of Farringdon, and considers himself unworthy of her affections. When his half-brother dies, he is overcome with grief and allows himself to find solace in her arms. Will her love inspire the necessary courage within him to claim his birthright and his place among the aristocracy?
I first got this book because I heard it was set in Portugal and one can't actually resist a book set in our own country now can we?
I am glad to say I did not find any errors in what concerns the usage of the setting, Farrell mostly sticks to mentioning the sites of the most famous battles and it was probably the best course of action. Regarding the story itself I did like it very much.
It had original, strong, characters in both the hero and the heroine. The hero is Valentine Aston, as a young boy he discovered he was the bastard so of an Earl and even if his half brother later rescued him from a life of hard work and abuse he can never forgive his father for what, he believes, he has done his mother. He also doesn't feel worthy of being the gentleman his brother wants him to be and ends up running away to the army at an early age.
The heroine is Elspeth Gordon, a major's daughter who has been following the drum with her mother. Now they are in Portugal and they meet when her coach is under attack and Val rescues her. They have to spend some nights on the road and, while Val as a gentleman feels like he should offer for her, he also believes he is unworthy to do so because he is a bastard.
Fortunately Elspeth’s family is as sensible as original and they just make him a part of the group of friends they frequently invite to dinner. This allows Elspeth and Val to get to know each other better and they soon fall for each other. However, it will take extraordinary circumstances to bring them together and for Val to accept his birthright.
Also central to the plot is a mystery, about who maybe selling intelligence to the French and why, and I thought that added even more interest to the romance.