Lady Lark Eddington, despite being an earl’s daughter, is in Marshalsea prison for debt after her father gambled away his fortune and killed himself. Fortunately, “King” Kingston, Earl of Grayshire, comes looking for a genteel debtor to be his charity-minded mother’s companion in Cornwall. Since anything is better than prison, Lark agrees to take the post. King is as good as betrothed to Lady Ann Cuthbertson, so Lark doesn’t expect to be anything more than a lady’s companion. But when the Countess invites Lady Ann to visit Cornwall, King finds himself more attracted to Lark. Their budding relationship is further complicated by his commission as a privateer to fight both the French and the local smugglers, whom his late father had supported.
Despite the title, very little action takes place aboard ship, and I spotted quite a few historical errors and Americanisms. On the positive side, there are several well-integrated passages of discussion about the state of Regency-era aristocratic marriage, contrasting King’s unhappy parents’ union with the loving relationship the main characters hope for. King and Lark are likeable, and the Countess is a feisty secondary character. These outweigh the drawbacks, and the result is an enjoyable historical romance.