This book is most definitely not romantic. The author gets so involved with her 'noble heroine' and the worthy peasants clches that she and the hero barely exchange words. There is no witty dialogue or reparteee, any of the 'getting to know you' one would hope for before they actually do the business.
When they finally do 'it' at about page 200, it is little better than a near rape as she 'comforts' him when he is having one of his flashbacks as to the awful things that happened to him in the war. Then he is furious that she is a virgin and didn't mention it (not that she ever got a chance!) and tells her to get out and he will never touch her again. We get gory descriptions of the blood all over her and what a 'bloody mess' she looks, as if she is some thing, not even a person.
Only when her ex shows up and wants her back does James bestir himself to admit to her he likes her (big deal) and needs her. (selfish brute who wants to forget the war)
He is not a bad man, but if the book was not so seriously skewed to her playing Lady Bountiful we might get to like him more. The whole Lord Heartless image really starts to be unconvincing after the first couple of pages, but he does seem that way as we never learn anything about his former love, or his son--he even says he had only ever loved two people in his life-his first wife and Verity. Parents? Son? The depth of character is just not there.
The entire book was predictable, and the only real star was her depiction of Cornwall, which reads like something straight out of the wonderful Poldark series.
A highly derivative romance, with no sizzle and some very distrubing undertones, and inconsistent characters I never get to feel I care enough about.
I ploughed to the end of nearly 400 pages just waiting for something to heat up, but it left me (and the lovers I shouldn't wonder) cold.