Reviewed by Francine.
This novel is far from the traditional Georgian or Regency romance and it is indeed set within both time periods. I truly admire the author’s daring to venture to the darker side of life in what is regarded as Jane Austen’s lifetime. Unlike the literary lady of that period, who chose to represent a rather rose-tinted escapist perspective of her own era, Ms Knight has presented her heroine in the true light of a kept woman. Through no fault of hers Becky has become the victim of circumstance and has duly fallen foul to men of a ruthless bent. Nonetheless, determined to secure an independent future free of men who bet, barter and pay debts with female assets (sexual favours), she masquerades under an assumed nom de plume until such time as sufficient funds can be accumulated by means of which are contracted in proper order to her specifications.
While men have come and gone, the reader enters Becky’s and her daughter's world with the introduction of a rakish hero who sports a modicum of honour. Though a child becoming aware of her surroundings, as has recognition of presents lavished upon her by Becky’s latest high ranking benefactor, soon begins to complicate life somewhat. Also, when circulating within the upper echelons of society, where secret mistresses are sought out and exposed as part and parcel of the gaming fraternity, danger lurks in every dark corner. And just when hope of eventual independence and freedom seem to have come within Becky’s grasp, one more cruel twist of fate seems set to blight her future path. Knowing full well her present benefactor cannot, or will not wed her, exchanging one contract for another hurts her pride and that of another. Unfortunately, needs must when the devil rides, but can Becky hide her past from those around her, mark a new place in society with a husband, and find the happiness and contentment of a rural life she had longed for? Well to find out, read this lonely, lovely lady’s story, in which characters act true to form: pimples ‘n’ all. Although the outcome of the book becomes evident mid story, it didn’t detract from enjoyment of the whole.