I wish I'd picked this up earlier!
I am an extremely picky reader of historical romance. Most books these days are nothing more than fluffy Americanised romps with no sense of time or place, and I passed on Miranda Neville's books more than once based on the trashy covers.
What a mistake that was.
Neville has a lot going for her. For starters, she is English, and it shows in both the dialogue and the creation of her characters. The heroes actually seem English, rather than sexed-up Fabio types so commonly created by other authors.
Secondly, her research is excellent. There's a big, engaging plot here beyond the romance and I felt like I was living in the world in which the book was set - this wasn't your standard wallpaper historical.
There is a huge power imbalance between our hero and heroine, and yet I felt that the steps they took to be together were realistic. Our heroine works for a living and is proud of it. Our hero cannot understand that. She wants independence. He wants a mistress. She refuses to be a mistress. He falls in love with her and has to find a way around their class differences.
The main theme of bookselling and book collectors was original - I didn't expect to find it interesting, and yet I did.
If I had to look for a fault, I'd say that the cover gives you the wrong idea. It is likely some readers will buy this expecting another fluffy Dukes and dances romp. This book certainly has the steam, but other than that, it is more serious in tone.
If you're looking for yet another Regency farce, you'll be buying the wrong book. For me? If more people wrote historical romance this way, I'd become an avid reader of the subgenre.