Unlike one of the other reviewers, I found this book far from boring. On the contrary it was witty and entertaining in the interaction between the two principal characters, with entertaining secondary characters.
In England, Francesca Bonnard is a notorious, shunned divorcee; someone to be ignored and distanced by polite society and people who had been her friends. However in the more relaxed, less hypocritical atmosphere of Italy, Francesca is a feted top courtesan, able to command a high price for her favours. For the first time in her life she is an independant woman, able to do as she pleases and pick and choose her lovers.
However, Francesca has something both her ex-husband and the British government wants. The government sends the blue-bloodied, master of disguise James Cordier, who is half Italian, to seduce Francesca and find what they want. Her husband sends the somewhat unhinged, knife-wielding Marta Fazi.
James decides that playing hard to get is the best way of attracting and intriging Francesca. Unfortunately he is madly attracted to her and so keeping cool and distanced is difficult, especially when Francesca has a young prince dangling after her and is then attacked several times and her house searched.
A very enjoyable romp.