Lady Anna Blacknall, a member of the Protestant Ascendancy is bored with the endless ball and dinner invitations and her widowed mother's attempts to marry her off to a wealthy man...any wealthy man. Anna, however, is in the mood for mischief and visits a notorious den of vice in Dublin where she finds herself in the arms of a dark-haired Irishman with green eyes. A man she has tried in vain to forget, along with a night of terror.
Conlan McTeer, Duke of Adair, fights for a free Ireland and his encounter with the blond young woman who claimed his heart two years earlier creates confusion for him and danger for her.
It is December 1799, two years after the ill-fated Rising and the fight is on between Union and anti-Union forces. Conlan owns the Olympian, a gaming establishment where he watches and tries to influence pro-Unionists to aid in his fight to reject unification. Conlan,a wealthy Catholic landowner, treats his people with respect. However, he has acquired a number of enemies, including his cousin Sir Grant Dunmore, who tried to gain ownership of the estate under the Penal Laws (which forbade a Catholic to own land).
The politics of the time are present throughout the book, and as danger mounts, Conlan tries to shield Anna, who at first seems oblivious to the danger or the reasons behind it. But finally, she decides to take the risk with the dark, intense man who has captured her heart.
At first, Anna seems unrealistic, even difficult to like, however, she reaches an epiphany where her character changes. As her past experiences are woven in a little at a time, the reader has more sympathy for her.
A secondary love story is added as Katherine, Anna's still beautiful mother is courted by Nicolas, younger sister Caroline's art teacher, a man who is not entirely what he seems.
I felt the story was well written, and I enjoyed the Dublin setting, refreshing for a Regency period book and as a student of Irish history, especially interesting to me. As mentioned previously, Anna's character came across at first as that of a spoiled society girl, but as she spent time with Conlan, her character became more interesting, and one could see that, having a carefree nature, she struggled within the confines of the period.
Ms. McKee has done a thorough job in her research of the period, and she weaves in just enough history to make the plot interesting and realistic without overwhelming the love story. This is the second in her Daughters of Erin trilogy. I look forward to Caroline's story next.