It took me ages to finish this, because it’s the usual Stuart formula which I know really well by now -- but eventually it wove its spell around me yet again and by the end of the book, I was hooked. The plot is kind of stupid but once you accept that the seeming goal of the characters is a total MacGuffin, it becomes much more bearable. There’s a good secondary romance involving one of my favorite mountain types of hero and the heroine’s mother (who is still very young, since this is a medieval romance), and the primary hero is certainly on the different side, being a King’s jestor, of all things. (Of course he’s really displaced nobility.)If Stuart’s super dark heroes are too much for you this would be a good one to try, because although Nicholas starts out pretty cynical, he mushes up very nicely when he finds love. It does have a few classic romance pet peeves for me: Virgin widow, magic sperm.