A noblewoman of frail beauty and exotic mystery fakes her own death to escape the gallows. And now she must flee. In disguise and under a false identity, she finds unexpected sanctuary in the arms of a handsome and arrogant yet gallant British lord—who must defy society to keep her safe . . and overcome a tragic past to claim her as his own.
This is one of a few Lisa Kleypas books that you never really see mentioned all that often in blogland. When I read it, I was kind of surprised because although it isn't the best Lisa Kleypas book I have ever read, the heroine was very unusual, and also part of the book was set in St Petersburg in Russia, something that is once again unusual.
When the book opens, our heroine Tasia is in prison awaiting execution after being convicted of murdering her fiance. Tasia can't actually remember anything about the murder. All she knows is that she was found near the body, holding the murder weapon, and covered in blood.
In order to escape from her fate, she fakes her own death, and escapes Russia to England, where her cousin agrees to help her. They have a friend, Lord Stokehurst, who is in need of a governess. He lives away from London so there isn't much chance that she will be found there. Somewhat unwillingly, Luke agrees to take "Miss Karen Billings" on as governess for a period of one month, and one month only. Luke's daughter, Emma, immediately likes Miss Billings, even if the other staff in the house do not, and gradually Lord Stokehurst begins to have feelings as well, even though he is aware that there is something about her story that is not quite right.
Eventually the truth about Miss Billing's identity comes out, she gets found, and Lord Stokehurst needs to travel too St Petersburg to save her!
While I liked Lord Stokehurst, he was in some ways a shadow of some of the other Kleypas heroes. He was a widower who had lost his hand when he tried to save the life of his wife and child some years before, and had had no intention to marry since the death of his wife. He did have a mistress during the early parts of this book, so it wasn't that there was a complete lack of interest in women, which would have been a similar story to something else I have read lately.
As for Tasia, she was very young - only about 18. She was also a bit too good to be true. More than once during this novel she practically nursed other characters who were her enemies.
As I said before, this book is not the best Kleypas I have read, but it wasn't too bad. The ending was a bit rushed and a bit too obviously setting up the next book, but I did put the grade up a little for something that is a bit different!