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Not as Good as Others in the Series
I have read several books in the Northumberland Nine series, and this one has darker themes than the other ones. The book even starts at night, when Luna is out attempting to gather herbs that are only easy to distinguish at night. She happens to see three men in conversation on the beach. Are they smugglers? Is their host involved? At least two are other members of the house party, two brothers. The two men are not pleased that she has seen them, and after some amount of time, figure out that she hasn’t seen or heard anything and swear her to silence. The brothers have been caught up in drama caused by the younger one, not smuggling, and the elder brother is wounded from stepping between his brother and the man he was dueling with. The hero’s brother is definitely an irresponsible young man who makes bad decisions and doesn’t seem to care how his actions affect his brother.
I didn’t care for this book as much as I did for the others in the series that I’ve read. The others felt relatively light and fun, but this one had a fair amount of troublesome issues, including that the hero could have died without the care of the heroine. I like my Regencies to be a bit more upbeat and more about the play of manners and decorum than things like duels and possible death. I am an RN, and some of the ways that healing practices were portrayed were highly inaccurate for the time. It makes sense to our modern understanding to sterilize equipment and think of not introducing more potential means for infection, but people back then wouldn’t have thought that way. The germ theory of infection was not a part of medical science until much later in the 1800s and even then acceptance was slow (20+ years). I did like the other books in the series, so I will continue with it, but I did find this book a disappointment compared to the rest.