Quiet, naive bookworm Charlotte suffers the legions of titled dandies her grandmother throws at her, but when she finds a long-absent childhood friend among them, she's sure she's found her true knight in shining armor. Only she'll have to deal with his long-ingrained insecurity, self-loathing, and revenge-fueled plans--as well as a depraved gentleman's club, a handful of spies, and her own childish romantic illusions--before she has any chance of convincing him to stick around. Meanwhile, in the twentieth century, Eloise overhears something that makes her wonder what exactly it is Colin really does for a living.
Willig adds repercussions of events in colonial India and her own imagining of a descendant of the Hellfire Club to her broader tale of the English and their protracted mutual distrust of those wily sneaks, the French. Actually, the French spy here only makes a few brief appearances, but he's an amusing, odd enough duck that I hope we see him again in the future. As I go through these, I find I have one eye on the principals and another on everyone else, wondering who might be up for a leading role in future volumes. Robert and Charlotte's story has a sad beginning, an adventurous and rather melodramatic middle, and, obviously, a happy ending. But I couldn't help but feel sorry for a few of their friends who get caught up in scandals or swept aside for less worthy rivals, so again with the hoping we find out what happens to them in their own stories later.