from our review:The story begins when Phyllida Satterthwaite tries to get her boisterous dogs out of her uncle’s library, though not before one of the animals has ended up in a gentleman’s lap. Worse, the man is clearly recovering from a leg injury. Phyllida’s concern for him grows as she realizes he’s almost as much of a stranger among his peers as she is, and when she sees that he has difficulty getting around, she discreetly helps him.It’s the start of an unusual friendship for Captain Arthur Heywood, who feels his disability isolates him from society. But he can’t help responding to Phyllida’s warmth and her ability to appreciate him for himself. Then he discovers that another man intends to marry her – and that man is the Duke of Moreland, also known as The Collector because of his habit of acquiring whatever he considers both beautiful and unusual. Phyllida, with her heterochromatic eyes (one blue, one amber), qualifies as such, but there’s a rumor that the Duke drowned his first wife. And Arthur discovers a wager that The Collector will be widowed again before the year is out.Meanwhile, Phyllida’s uncle introduces her to the Duke, but when that gentleman strikes his dog (readers who don’t want to encounter animal cruelty should be aware of this), she declines his offer of marriage. Whereupon the Duke tells her it wasn’t an offer. Her uncle is giving her to him, and therefore he expects to take possession of what belongs to him.And to her shock, Phyllida realizes that everything her uncle has done for her has been for the sole purpose of exhibiting her for the duke’s purchase. Even allowing her to keep her dogs was done with that in mind, since when she flinches from marrying the duke, her uncle threatens to kill them. This is one of the few historical romances which made me genuinely afraid for the heroine. The trap she found herself in is so realistic, well set up and perfectly written.She goes to Arthur for help, and he proposes they marry. After the wedding, they retire to his country estate, because the Duke has a reputation for revenging himself on anyone who thwarts him in his acquisitions. But they soon find that trouble has followed them home.
Grade: B+Check Review