Another favorite! I obtained this book while browsing a local second hand bookstore back in the Philippines and bought it when it became available via ebook. Sadly, I left my paperback in the PH and hopefully, it will still remain in good shape.
This book starts off with Baron Guy of Montague arriving at Halford Hall and spotting Lady Claudia. Guy is immediately intrigued by her and plans to make her his bride. That is, until Baron Lonsdale hatches a plot to keep Guy from obtaining Halford Hall at a fair price. Unfortunately, this plot ends up with Guy and Claudia caught in the same room in a scandalous position and with Guy thinking that Claudia is in on the plot since both of them end up getting betrothed.
Once Claudia discovers the plot between her uncle and the bishop: they plan to kill Guy and plan to frame Claudia; she tries to help him escape and convinces him to take her with him. Despite being attracted to Claudia, Guy guards his heart and still distrusts her until it is apparent that Claudia is indeed innocent and a victim of her uncles’ wickedness and he starts to fall in love with her.
Another complication to their relationship is revealed when it is discovered that Claudia’s brother, Roberto of Ravenna was in fact an assassin who tried to kill his brother Kenric (Warlord, Montagues #1). Despite this, Guy intends to wed Claudia until her second brother Dante poisons Guy so that he can rescue her. Claudia ends up in the dungeons and escapes with her brother when he convinces her that Guy thinks she is guilty of poisoning her. The story ends in a stand-off between Guy and Dante with Claudia stepping in between both of them trying to save Guy.
I have read this book over and over and loved it. I enjoyed reading about how Claudia turned guys revenge into love and how she sort of healed the two families.
Claudia is a very likable character and I was appalled at how she was treated by her uncle. I see her inner strength shining through every time she stands up to Guy and how she faces the world without fear despite being alone. I feel that Guy is the perfect pair for Claudia in that he sees in her beauty, innocence and honestly despite her being a foreigner to England.
There really is not an actual villain in the story because once they leave Halford Hall, they do not meet up with her uncle again. However, Dante comes in and tries to save Claudia from Guy’s clutches. His plan fails when Claudia comes in between them and gets hurt and poisoned by Dante’s knife.