Delightful story! What I Liked
*Anthony! Not exactly a tortured hero, but certainly a mistreated and misunderstood one. Yes, a rake, but also honest, caring, and proud of accomplishing so many things without the love and support of his mean earl of a father. He longs for Celia for years, but thinks he's not worthy of her love.
*Celia. Although she starts out as a typical girl having her first season, her unhappy first marriage matures her. She takes a little too long to come around to accepting Anthony, but once she does she's loyal to the core.
*Celia's diary. The diary covering Celia's first marriage is well done -- heartbreaking, really.
*Celia's depression. Well, I didn't like
her depression, but I admired the author's ability to depict her feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. I don't really understand the reviewers who said the book was too depressing; that's really just one small part of the overall story.
*Great sex! But what else would you expect from London's most accomplished lover?What I Didn't Like
*The murder/kidnapping/wife plot. This felt tacked-on at the end (much like the counterfeiting excitement in What A Gentleman Wants). What was the purpose, other than to show that Anthony and Celia were willing to risk their lives to save the other.
*Rosalind. She verged on becoming as annoying as Mrs. Bennett.
*The rest of the Reece family. I would have enjoyed seeing a bit more of Celia's brothers and their wives. I expect it's hard for authors writing a series to get the right balance of old and new faces, but Mary Balogh has perfected the art, IMHO, in the Bedwyn series.
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot and recommend it. It works just fine as a stand alone (and is by far the best of the trilogy, so you needn't bother with the first two).