Although the South American setting is unusual and beautifully described, every thing else about this tale is formulaic and predictable. I saw how the cake incident would turn out before Edward even arrived on the scene, Mrs Brandons part in the plot was obvious even before she left England, I could even predict her husband's death. No, not because I am precognitive, as handy as that would be, I'm not. I simply know these things because this story is sadly let down by dot to dot plotting that no amount of window dressing with exotic locations, zoological terminology or theatrical soap operas can disguise.
My rating would be more generous if my enjoyment had not been curtailed by knowing what was coming long before it arrived. How I would have welcomed something happening that had not been telegraphed ahead chapters before! What's the point of a pretty package for your present if you not only know what's in the box, but you already have what it contains?
Its unfortunate, the characters are mostly well drawn and the author appears to have done a great deal of research, but that cannot make up for the reader having nothing to look forward to because the plot is so obvious.
Also, Harriet is described as moral but frankly she is a bit too wishy washy for that. When she decides to meekly submit to Rom ravishing her I quite honestly wanted to give her a good shaking. For some one whose inspiration is a Roman General she's sadly lacking pluck.
There is not much to offend, no swearing or bedroom scenes, but much of the humour is rather farcical and juvenile, only the Russian characters adding humour that rises above that level.