Isabella, English widow of a wastrel foreign prince, is deep in debt. She intends to marry a nobleman so fixed in debtors’ prison that her liabilities will make no difference to his own, and afterwards get an annulment. The man the jailer selects for her turns out to be Marcus, Earl of Stockhaven, whom she had left at the altar twelve years ago to marry the prince. She doesn’t know that Marcus is merely posing as a debtor in order to gather information about a criminal who harmed his family. Soon Isabella finds herself firmly married to a husband who intends to collect on her debts in more ways than one.
Despite the premise being a bit of a stretch, for the first 21 chapters it’s an enjoyable Regency historical romance. The book goes downhill in the climax, which involves so much backstory it distances the reader from what should be the most exciting part. A couple more problems: One character receives a knife wound in one scene and is recovering from a gunshot wound in the next. And I have difficulty believing that paparazzi-style reporters existed and would be allowed to haunt a West End doorstep in 1816.