A Dedicated Scoundrel
Lord Justin Belforte is a disgraced soldier accused of treasonously helping a captured French general escape from Wellington’s troops. Catherine Meade is a disgraced ex-debutante, self-exiled in the countryside after acquiring a loose reputation following an aborted runaway marriage. Their paths cross when passerby Justin heeds her cry for help, whereupon a collapsing building robs him of his memory. Catherine naturally takes her unknown savior in until he recovers. But once memory returns, Justin realizes that pretending amnesia will be an ideal way to conceal his identity while he searches for a way to refute the treason charge.
The growing attraction between the two protagonists is well done, creating effective romantic tension by giving them plausible reasons for not acting upon their yearnings. The reconciliation scene is particularly good. However, Barbour makes a few missteps. A character says, “Robbie, not being the son of a peer, has no private income.” The implication that only sons of peers had private incomes is faulty; wealthy non-peers existed in Regency times. Also, there were several incorrect uses of titles of nobility, plus some Americanisms and 21st century expressions which jerk the reader out of the Regency atmosphere.