To society, the Earl of Bonnington (William Manderville), is a dissolute rake, with nothing more on his mind than who will be his next mistress. Appearances are deceiving, as Manderville is a covert spy for the British government, making trips back and forth from England to France, ferrying secret messages and information to help the British cause. In order to do this, he poses as an aristocrat with nothing but pleasure on his mind, travelling with his mistress. When his last mistress almost blows his cover, he is on the lookout for another one, finding Harriet Treene, Orange Seller extraordinaire.
I like the book's premise, but I agree with the other reviewers that Harriet's speech was entirely too distracting. She attempts to correct her speech, but still has it to the very end of the book. Some may say that defines her as a unique character, but there are ways to represent this without taking away from the book's content. I don't know how many "Hey, ho"'s I came across, but by the end of the book, I felt I was on a pirate adventure. I was waiting for Jarrett to throw in an "Aye, matey. Ya landlubber". In addition, the thrown in introduction of Zeke at the end felt as if Jarrett didn't know how to explain the evil character's purpose for revenge. One scene that was just odd was Harriet's orange juggling antics at the Duchess' mansion. I don't see how polite society would not ostracize the Duke, Duchess, and Bonnington after that.
The main characters did have chemistry, and the plot line was interesting, if a bit unbelievable. As history shows, the Haut Ton would not have accepted Harriet into their ranks, and would have ostracized Bonnington, his family and relatives, also.
This isn't my first Jarrett book, nor will it be my last. This book is not a keeper. I recommend new readers of Jarretts to view her other works.