Sigh. I hate to rate this book as low as I do because really, it is not a bad book. But it is definitely an infuriating one. I give Balogh a bit of a pass because this is one of her early books.
The book starts in a smallish village where a Miss Elizabeth Rossiter is the governess/companion of a beautiful young lady. The village is abuzz because the owner of he largest, most prosperous property is coming for a stay and is bringing some sophisticated friends from London.
As is usual in these books, the local gentry want to have a series of social rounds with the visiting nobles and marry off various children.
One of the visitors is Robert Denning, Marquess of Hetherington. And it is soon obvious that he and Elizabeth have a past. And oh yeah, he hates her.
The first part of the book is all question marks. Why does Robert despise Elizabeth so? What is the nature of their past relationship?
Slowly, Elizabeth reveals their relationship through flashbacks. And at the midpoint of the book, Robert throws down a bombshell.
And this is where I find the book really infuriating. Everything that has happened in the past and even going forward, hinges on the Grand Misunderstanding. It gets to a point where Elizabeth's intransigence just makes you want to slap her.
And it doesn't help matter that the entire story is told 100% from Elizabeth's POV. Robert is really enigmatic. His responses to her, his reactions and even some of his words are incredibly cryptic.
So this book was just frustrating. I would not rec this to newbies to Balogh. I'd probably only recommend it to Readers who are familiar with her work and who are interested in completing her backlist.