Eleanor Becket is the glue that holds the wild, adventurous, at times reckless Beckets together, even if she believes herself to be the least interesting or exciting person in the world. Some may aspire to be a lady, and some, it seems, are simply born to it, whether they want to be or not.
Who would expect fragile Eleanor, with her quiet ways and her unfortunate limp, to be anything more than she seems? But this adopted daughter has secrets gentleman turned smuggler Jack Eastwood believes connected to a long-ago crime. His discoveries ultimately lead them both to the very edge of desire and danger. It is 1813, with the Beckets long feeling safe in Romney Marsh … and now Eleanor, just because she exists, may bring back an old enemy to destroy them all.
Smuggling flourishes along England's southern coastlinein 1813, setting the scene for bestselling Michaels's fast-paced new series chronicling the sprawling Becket family of Romney Marsh, continued in this third volume. When the Beckets' smuggling ring, an operation that helps their fellow villagers, is threatened by the notorious Red Men Gang, family friend Jack Eastwood offers to infiltrate London society to root out the gang's leader. Although adopted daughter Eleanor has always been reserved and self-sufficient, quietly running the boisterous Becket household, she shocks everyone by volunteering to play Eastwood's pretend wife in London. Jack quickly discovers that Eleanor's fragile looks hide a sharp mind and steely will, making her a valuable ally, but he suspects she is keeping secrets from him about her past. These secrets become a liability when Jack discovers that Rowley Maddox, the Earl of Chelfham and quite possibly the leader of the Red Men, knows who Eleanor is and what she's hiding. As the cat-and-mouse game intensifies, Jack and Eleanor realize they are destined to do more together than sleuthing just in time for Jack to face losing Eleanor at the hands of Maddox. Lively dialogue and characters make the plot's suspense and pathos resonate; anticipation for the series' next volume, due in 2007, should be high.