This story popped up as an 'also bought' recommendation from Amazon and the title intrigued me. I am wary of buying books by authors I don't 'know', so I read a sample and was hooked. Sarah Pevensey is the daughter of a wealthy merchant and has recently married St John Sutliffe, Viscount Fairfax. It is an arranged marriage and neither parties are particularly happy about it. Her father wants a title for his daughter and St John's father needs her large dowry as the family are broke. Sarah and St John have only been married for a couple of weeks when Sarah is found sitting on the lap of Captain Brice, her clothing in disarray and the priceless Sutliffe sapphires missing from around her neck. She tries to explain her innocence to her husband, but he just walks out of the door. Her father-in-law calls for the Bow Street Runners and only her mother-in-law is sympathetic - arranging for Sarah to escape the house to a small fishing village on the Devonshire coast. When a body is pulled from the Thames a few weeks later, it is identified as Sarah's and everyone believes she is dead.
Meanwhile, unknown to Sarah, St John fights a duel with Captain Brice, survives, but leaves immediately to the West Indies, only returning three years later. St John is told his wife is dead, but then finds a receipt for her pension in his step-mother's possession. He heads off to Devonshire to find out what is going on.
As it turned out, the plot of this story is similar to one I read a few weeks ago, but it did not spoil my enjoyment. I liked that at the start Sarah is a 'little mouse' but when she begins to make friends with the villagers, and realises how hard their lives are, she begins to work to help them them and her own confidence improves. By the time St John turns up she is more than capable of dealing with him - but he still believes she's a liar and a thief ...
The author creates lots of problems for the characters to work through. Just as you think they are finally due a happy ending, something else pops up. There is a mystery to solve too, regarding the disappearance of the jewels, and where they have been for the past three years, although that was not too hard to solve.
This story is the first in a series of three, loosely tied by the heroes having recently returned from the West Indies and the heroines running away from something. But I did enjoy it and have downloaded the next one.