Wow. Where to start. First of all, I wanted to like this book. And I tried really, really hard to do so. However, early on I found myself mentally knocking off one star for a serious error in fact. While Prince Edward Albert (aka Bertie), Prince of Wales, had some rather notorious peccadilloes in Le Chabanais (the setting for a great deal of this book), he was *not* King Edward of England until 1901. Yet, he was referred to as such several times in the manuscript, where it is supposed to be 1878.There is a lot of rich scenery and interesting opportunity in this tale, although some things are confusing (like a French nun being named Mary while an Irish whore is named Annette). It's quite apparent that Ms. Hopkins put a lot of time and research into the settings of her tale, even though she completely missed the mark with Bertie.That said, this is the story of Suzette Rousseau, a young French woman who finds herself in distressed circumstances when her father passes away, and Lord Robert Holland, her English lover. I have to be honest and say that while I was able to overlook some editing issues (like "throws of passion" where throes was intended, for instance), I could not get past my dislike for Suzette. Even though she had a governess herself, it never occurs to her to look for such work. Instead, she becomes a laundress and then a prostitute -- all the time boasting about her level of education. I found her entirely two-dimensional, and I really could not dredge up much empathy or concern for what happened to her (although a great deal of the action became a little predictable).As much as I hate to say it, I will not be pursuing the other two books in the trilogy. I just don't care what happens to Suzette Rousseau.