Summary: It takes a lot to unnerve Captain John Staple, a man with a reputation for audacious exploits and whimsical nonsense. But when he finds himself mired on the moors on a dark and stormy night no less - John hardly expects to find a young frightened boy who's been left alone to tend a toll gate house.
Never one to pass up an adventure, John decides to take up residence in Derbyshire as a gatekeeper until he can find the lad's father. But as John investigates the suspicious disappearance, he begins to unravel a far more complex mystery. And at its center is a woman ... the very one to tame John's reckless spirit.
Comments: John Staple is a unique man. Finding a poor child being a gate keep for his disappeared father, he stops, stays, and tries to sort out what is going on. Just because it needs to be done. This book is unlike any Georgette Heyer I've read before. It's way more of a
mystery than a romance. The couple in question get married with no real conflict about three quarters of the way through the book, but don't get to be together immediately. The mystery is what are Henry Stornaaway, cousin of Nell Stornaway and grandson of Sir Peter, and Mr. Coate up to - because it must be something to be at Kellands when it's dead boring - which it is most of the time.
The heroine is logical, the hero is, well, a rare breed of man and the secondary characters, from highwayman to Bow Street Runner to 7 year-old boy are well drawn and believable.
Great read - Up next Powder and Patch.