Jasper is a scholar. He always has been. His father once thought that he would join the church but Jasper found he liked more earthy pleasures. For more than 15 years he has been studying the ancient civilizations to the point that he is considered an expert. He travels from country to country, never staying long in any. When his brother and his wife are killed in a freak boating accident, Jasper is suddenly guardian of his niece, Sydney and his nephew, Anthony. Unknown to Anthony, Jasper is actually his father.
Several years later, Jasper has been running the estates that Anthony inherited and raising Sydney. Jasper and Sydney have come to London for the season while a new roof is being put on the manor house. Anthony is grown and is well liked and known among the social set. Anthony’s name has been linked with Marina as her lover for last season. When Jasper meets Marina, he finds himself attracted to her even though he doesn’t want to be. Marina only has lovers for a season but in Jasper, she finds herself wanting more. She’s hidden her past as well as she can but a blackmailer has given her a deadline before he will expose all her secrets if she won’t become his lover.
Anthony knows that if he wishes to continue to live in the style that he has become accustom to, he must marry money. As he looks around at the eligible young women, he finds two that he has set his eye on. When he asks the one to marry him, he finds that while she can bring the money he wants and needs, he’d rather spend time with Sydney’s governess!
This book has two love stories going at once, Jasper and Marina, and Anthony looking for the right woman. Jasper and Marina’s story is one of passion and secrets. They both have secrets that they don’t want the other to know yet when they come together passion ignites. Anthony courts in a socially acceptable way. He takes no liberties with any of the young ladies.
The characters all act within the Regency period. Though Jasper and Marina are having an affair, they do it so no one has knowledge of it. It wouldn’t do to have either household to know about their love affair and it would be in either’s best interest for it to get out. Still as much as they try to keep it quiet, the servants know about it as servants always know what is happening in their world.
There are bits of enlightenment within the story though. Marina makes money by writing novels. Jasper is offered a sum to write a book. Though the upper class did write, they didn’t do it for money. Jasper also gives the argument that all the antiquities that have been removed from Greece should be returned. This was not a common idea during the time period of this book. Still, both these more modern ideas are worked into the story as to compliment it and not distract from it.
There are some parts that are a bit slow or tedious but they don’t last long. I found that if a read a couple of more pages the story would pick up and it would hold my interest once more. With two love stories happening, secrets that need to be kept and a blackmailer, how could this story drag for long?