Potentially I think that this book held a foundation to be a grand romance and instead I can't help, but to feel disappointed by the finished product.
My biggest fault with this story is the bold fact that the hero and the heroine seemed to have switched places. I felt like Joss, the heroine was more of the hero than Heath really was. Joss took the lead in the relationship, she fought to protect Heath and the love that she possessed for him was real. This might have worked had this idea equally balanced against Heath's character, but instead it did the opposite in the fact that I do not believe that an Earl such as Heath would be so willing to allow a woman to lead in his life.
Also I felt like Heath didn't take the love that Joss had for him as seriously as she did. She was more than willingly to fight for him and yet I do not think that Heath was equally interested in doing the same with Joss. The romance was just a complete mess in this book and it made this book harder to like.
However there were moments that proved to be interesting such as the brief hints of mystery involving the encoding file as well as selective scenes that were different in comparison to fellow, historical novels.
So this book is one novel that I tend to have mixed feelings over. Had the romance been written differently I think I might have liked this book. I'm not sure that I would read another novel by Bowen at this time since this is my first introduction to the author, if I did I think I would do a little more research on the romance prior to making my selection.
THE EARL DOTH PROTEST . . .
For businessman Heath Hextall, inheriting an earldom has been a damnable nuisance. The answer: find a well-bred, biddable woman to keep his life in order and observe the required social niceties. But it's always been clear that Lady Josephine Somerhall is not that woman. Once a shy slip of a girl, Joss is now brilliant, beautiful chaos in a ball gown.
. . . BUT THE LADY KNOWS BEST
In her heart, Joss has always loved Heath, the one person she's always been able to count on. That doesn't mean she wants to marry him though. Without a husband, Joss can do as she pleases-and now, it pleases her to solve the mystery of an encoded file given to Heath by a dying man. It's put Heath in peril once, and Joss won't let that happen again. She'll do what she must to ensure the earl's safety. And to remind him that what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in passion.