In the waning years of Victoria’s reign, orphaned Ally Grayson is fascinated by a masked highwayman who steals nothing, nor will he say why he stopped her carriage. He turns out to be the fiancé she’s never met, Mark Farrow, a titled detective working on a murder case involving anti-monarchists. Ally has a secret, too—she is the author of anonymous essays against the anti-monarchists. Mark soon discovers that Ally’s mysterious parentage will put her in danger if the murderer traces her identity.
Beguiled is both a historical romance and a murder mystery, unsuccessful at either. The obstacles thrown in the couple’s way to keep them apart are contrived. Mark’s highwayman pose provides a “meet cute” scenario, but doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the murder case. The book is loaded with Americanisms, and the supposedly English characters woefully misuse English titles. Why bother setting a book in the past if you don’t at least try to get easy-to-verify facts right? The bedroom scenes will satisfy romance fans who aren’t bothered by the odd clinker, such as, “She touched his flesh, and it was alive.” What was she expecting, a little necrophilia?