Lucinda, Lady Denbigh once made a terrible mistake: she married Lord Denbigh who abuses her both physically and emotionally because she hasn't given him an heir and because she's both tall and plump and not traditionally pretty. One day, Lucinda decides to leave her husband and hides in the country posing as a widow - along with her newly adopted daughter Sophia - living the sort of quiet life she always dreamed off.
However, things change when Lucinda's landlord returns from the war. Lord Hugo Wasnted spent many years in the army and returns to Kent to find his family home practically in ruins - thanks to his father's obsession with having more children to secure the family line - and a young widow whom he finds very attractive living on his land.
His first impulse is to send her away, he doesn't need to be attracted to Lucinda or anyone, he doesn't want to marry ever again - he was married once before but his wife died - or have children; but Lucinda isn't going anywhere, not with the threat of her husband still lurking out there.
All right, first let me say that this is not a fluffy, lighthearted romance novel; the things Lucinda goes through are pretty awful but, that being said, Lucinda is a great heroine, both vulnerable and strong, very resourceful and smart. Hugo makes a fine tortured hero: a gentle man who was hardened by war, life and loss.
The writing is very engaging and it hooked me right from page one, I wanted to know more. There is plenty of mystery and a great cast of characters; as well as a twist I didn't quite see coming.