Harry Sinclair is an undercover secret agent in early 19th century London. Working with a few colleagues, whe is charged with spying on three noblemen at the same time. At a ball, which he attends in the guise of an elderly gentleman, he meets Mariah Dunmore, the daughter of one of the men he spies on. Being of humble origins, he knows he will never be able to court her, but he can't help himself: he starts to secretly visit her. At night, in her bedroom. Mariah and Harry fall in love, but can they have a future together?
This isn't as sleazy as it sounds. Instead, it is an utterly romantic story with one of the best - and romantic - scenes taking place during a concert. Harry is far from being one of those alpha neanderthal heroes, and he tries to give up his relationship with Mariah several times throughout the book, because he knows he will never be allowed to marry her. It is Mariah who drives their relationship forward. She is in her early 20s, and, having grown up in a very sheltered way as the only child of her doting parents, she occasionally acts rashly or is a little naive. But Mariah, her family, and Harry are all very likable characters. There was just one plot element which I found quite unlikely: Mariah doesn't only have plenty of admirers, she also gets lots and lots of marriage proposals from men who hardly know her and whom she never encouraged even a little. But that isn't a pivotal part of the plot, and barely hurt my enjoyment of the story. This is a "good" book (Grade B)