The formula for this book is similar to that of other regency romances out there. You mix a beautiful, innocent girl with a handsome, roguish man and you've got a recipe for an enjoyable read.
However, Karen Hawkins's book managed to insert a few significant differences in the generally-used model.
For starters, the main character, Bronwyn (love, love the names in this book), is what the aristocracy considers a spinster. At twenty-four, she remains unmarried and does not wish to change that fact. Bookish, bespectacled and without any regard whatsoever towards fashion, Brownyn is an unconventional woman for her time, to say the least.
Then there's Alexey, Prince of Oxenburg, a man with very unusual tastes when it comes to women, who is visiting Brownyn's town. Needless to say, he's a total hunk.
His gypsy heritage - through his mother and represented for the most part by Tata Natasha, his grandmother - is another intriguing fact about the storyline. Also, the author invented a whole new country (I googled it to be sure), adorning it with some very accurate insights into romani culture.
These unusual aspects of the story brought some originality in what is becoming a very tiresome genre, what with the enormous similarities between books. It is a comfort-zone genre, soothing once in a while, but exausting when in rapid sucession.
*ARC provided by Pocket Books through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*