This is the third book in a series that takes place in England during the regency period. It focuses on the leagues of English Spies ala the Scarlet Pimpernel (aristocrats who spy!) who are busy doing their part to foil Napolean. This was the first in this series that I read (the pink carnation series)and while I think reading the earlier books would have fleshed out some of the characters in this book a bit more, it wasn't a big problem. I wasn't sure going into this if this was going to be straight historical fiction or a historical romance. Note: it is decidely a romance so if that's not your cup of tea beware.
I liked this book. It was a nice, light romp of a read - I liked all the historical characters and feel like the relationship set-up was interesting with a low level of annoying contrivances. I mean there is the fact that once the heroine realizes the nature of the misunderstanding with Geoff, she doesn't make a point to try and explain - in fact she never really does which seems more of a "let's see how long we can draw this conflict out" rather than actual human nature/behavior. But you get some of that in most romance novels else many of them would be about 100 pages long.
My one big beef with the whole series is the author's use of a parallel modern story. I can see how when she was coming up with the idea that it seemed like such a brilliant and interesting device but it did not work for me at all. I hated the modern day "heroine" Eloise who is supposedly working on her phD at Harvard but is so silly, shallow, and just plain ridiculous I found it hard to swallow or take her as a serious academic. Eloise is the quintessential heroine of a chick-lit novel and while I like a romance or two I cannot stand chick-lit so its likely just a personal thing for me. I wanted to completely skip these sections of the book but was afraid I'd miss something. I was always annoyed when they popped up.
While I usually hate starting "in the middle"of a series I was glad I started with this one. It was all right and I have since gone back and read the first book in the series and I really disliked it. So I'm gonna try a few of the others in the series and hope they are more like this then the first book and also hope that I work up the courage to skip the modern day chapters.