Ugh. A very unsatisfying Mary Balogh book.
I alternated between feeling sorry for the heroine -- whose religious fanatic father was unloving and downright abusive -- and feeling completely out of patience with her. To an extent, I could understand her overwhelming desire for "freedom," even though that was a virtually unachievable situation for women of her day. It was completely incredible, though, that she would prefer to run off and be a governess over marrying this rich, handsome, kind, and openminded earl. But she's determined to be "free," until, in the last twenty pages or so, she decides she'd like to have sex with him before parting. (This, from a woman who was truly shocked and offended when he had chastely kissed her after their betrothal and who had been so sheltered that she would have had absolutely no idea what sex actually involved. But never mind -- there's always a guaranteed orgasm in HR world.) And then, when she virtually forces him to confess that he loves her and will be brokenhearted when she's gone, she decides, oh, no, what I really wanted was to be "needed." At this point, I wouldn't have blamed Edmund if he threw her over the cliff.
I generally love Mary Balogh's books, but the entire Web trilogy is way below the quality of her more recent series, such as the Bedwyns and Simply. So glad that I got the Web trilogy from my public library and didn't spend any money on them.