The rating of this book for me is based on the story not the writing. Although this book is well written, it was not what I would call a true romance story. This is the story of Cassandra Madison, framed for murder in England and sent to the island of convicts in Australia. Months of deprivation on the voyage and arriving to be assigned work as a maid to Malcolm, a former convict turned doctor on the island. Malcom Rutherford seems to be a kind man and has the utmost respect for Cassie but he has a dark side. He enjoys dominance and fear in his women. He finds Cassie vulnerable and eventually leaves his current mistress so that he may pursue domineering Cassie. Cassie, being from a high class society family in England falls for his kindness and gets wrapped up in the strangeness of Malcoms desires. The story also reveals how Cassie was framed for murder and introduces her strange family. I think this story could have really been a great romance. There was only brief mention of the beauty of the coast of Austrailia even though that could have made for a very romantic back drop. You hear more about the desease and death throughout the island where most everyone there is a convict or ex-convict that abuses current convicts. Its a dark story and if you enjoy some of that element then this book may be more to your liking.