This compelling Regency is set not long after the passing of the Anti-Slavery bill. The main voice is male, one Viscount Felix Western, making the novel a refreshing change from the norm. At the beginning, with his rakish disdain for moral propriety, Felix Western is not the most attractive of characters. Interestingly he soon develops into a very readable hero, both complex and compelling. Though the heroine, widowed Saskia Eden, is not given a great deal to say that is by no means a failing. When she speaks her voice adds depth and poignancy.
The story revolves around the smuggling activities of Samuel Barker, father of Saskia. Barker does not deal in the usual commodities – he trades in human flesh. When Viscount Western learns his father’s shipping line is the method of transport, he decides to bring to an end Barker’s vile trade of smuggling ex-slaves, ensuring his meeting with the intriguing Saskia. He rapidly becomes equally determined to solve the mystery of Saskia’s silence regarding her estranged father. Dangers multiply yet the story never rattles nor drags, but lingers in all the right places building steadily to a joyful denouement. A thoroughly enjoyable, rewarding read. Recommended.