I would never pick this book up in a secondhand bookstore because the title is strange and the cover is weirder. No wonder Harlequin puts the money and effort into consumer research. It’s all about pretty covers and catchy titles!
The romance takes place in Brazil with references to England and Portugal. Goldenhawk is the name of the hero’s best estate.
The heroine is a very plain girl. Her name is Jaine, appropriate for the phrase plain Jane. Quite often in the novel she is mistaken as a boy. I wanted to jump into the novel and tell her to grow her hair longer and wear less concealing clothes because it’s obvious she’s plain only so much as her aunt and cousin made her so.
Jaine is basically an indentured servant to her cousin and aunt. She’s an orphan and poor relation. Jaine is sent off to take the wrath of the hero as her cousin and aunt depart days before the cousin’s wedding to Pedro de Ros Zanto, a very wealthy landowner and a Duque.
Pedro is amused and determined to hire Jaine out from under her aunt. He promises a life outside of the colorless drab world she’s in and enough money to make it lucrative. Jaine accepts and becomes his son’s companion and caretaker. The son, quite frankly, reads as an excuse for her presence because even with his disability the boy never really makes a big splash or seems to have purpose.
The story is very chaste. We never see anything beyond some passionate kisses. It ends in a bittersweet way similar to Sound of Music. They’re together, but they’re leaving a lot behind in their effort to make it to safety.