I am simply blown away by what an excellent book this is. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Regencies with a bit of mystery and adventure. The author's knowledge of sailing, navigation, collecting antiquities, and Shakespeare is most impressive. There's no sex (the wedding night could have been hotter), but the love story is compelling.
What I liked: the heroine is smart and sassy but doesn't get into silly scrapes. The hero is dark and has a past but he's not brooding or haunted. Jessica and John become allies due to their love of old books and to thwart an attempt to prove that Bacon wrote the Shakespeare plays. There are engaging secondary characters and plot lines. The Prince Regent is a minor character, and I enjoyed seeing him depicted with approval of his efforts to protect England's literary heritage; most Regencies either leave him out or focus on his silly extravagance.
What I didn't like: The uncle changed his mind and approved their marriage awfully quickly and without sufficient explanation.It was never clear to me who would inherit the Parham collection if Jessica did not; perhaps I missed something there. Minor complaints: I don't think that Jessica and John would have called one another by their first names in front of her aunt and uncle. What happened to poor Damien? Was he Shanghaied?
This is a rewritten Kindle version of the print version published in the 1990s. It was free to Amazon Prime customers and is available in the Amazon lending library.