As a substitute for Georgette Heyer Jane Aiken Hodge is somewhat lacking but her books still possess a certain degree of charm. Quoting from the back of the book:
'Here is a fine novel of romance, betrayal and mystery. When the Americans sacked the English capital of Canada at the outbreak of the war of 1812, Kate Croston, newly widowed and seemingly lost, was only too glad to flee her shadowed past and accept the offer of help given by an American civilian, Jonathan Penrose. But as soon as she became the charge of Jonathan's daughter, little Sarah, Kate found herself caught in a web of intrigue and suspicion. Was Jonathan wise to defy his arrogant wife, Arabelle, and place Sarah in Kate's care. And what was the role of the handsome Englishman, Captain Manningham, in this affair? It was only when Arabelle showed that she would stop at nothing - even kidnapping her own daughter - to get at her husbband's fortune, and when the war suddenly became one that was intensely close to all their aspirations, that the mystery came into the open'.
In short, Kate agrees to look after Jonathan's daughter who has gone a bit funny in the head since she went away with her mother for a bit and now won't speak. Arabella, previously a town belle, cannot cope with being immured in the country and has come to dislike her husband though he knew when he married her that he didn't love her. Manningham is a horror from Kate's past (don't read this unless you want to know everything) who ruined her father and raped her from whom she ran to America and who suddenly appears again in Arabella's company. Jonathan hears rumours about Kate - that she was promiscuous from Manningham and Arabella and only then realises that he loves her - she has known she loved him for a bit. Everything goes wrong when Sarah is kidnapped by Manningham and Arabella, though it all turns out alright in the end with a happy ending.
Fun light reading but some annoyingly stupid men.