This story sounded intriguing to me since I was born and raised in Derbyshire where it's set, but it fell short of the glory of a great story and it happened quickly. The language was far too flowery for my taste for one thing:
“As she stepped down onto the creamy marble floor of the imposing entrance hall, a blast of cold from the open front door sent a shiver through her, and she was glad for the thermal vest hidden beneath her silk blouse. A strip of Wedgwood blue sky showed over the rooftops of the buildings across the street.“Creamy? Imposing? Silk? Wedgwood? At least she spelled Wedgwood right so credit where credit is due, but this was way too much, especially when most of it was all in one sentence.
And this is how we meet Lucie Kennington, who works for a high-end art gallery and is suspended in a most unrealistic way when an art piece she brought to the attention of the gallery is apparently stolen by being switched out for a fake. This made no sense to me since if she wanted to steal it, then why the hell would she ever bring it to the attention of the gallery in the first place? She found it hanging unsung on someone's wall and recognized it for what it was. If she were going to be dishonest about it, she would have offered the owner a few pounds for it and made out like gangbusters in the profit. If their beef is that it was stolen, not necessarily by her, then the problem is security, not the woman who found the piece.
So she gets suspended while an investigation takes place, and immediately this turns into one of those 'weak women fleeing back to her home town - or in this case to the countryside' which is precisely the kind of chick-lit story I detest. I foolishly picked this one up to read thinking it might be different and intrigued by the Derbyshire aspect. I had little to nothing of Derbyshire in the part I read which was admittedly limited.
All I really got was dumb-ass Lucie and an even more dumb-ass family of landed gentry named after characters from Arthurian mythology (which has nothing to do with Derbyshire, BTW) dealing with a financial crisis in their castle. It's patently obvious she's going to get it on with Arthur Ludworth who "might just be the most handsome man Lucie’s ever laid eyes on." Barf. Arthur has 'shaggy hair' of course which is probably why she can’t wait to shag him.
Of course, Arthur's salvation is once more a painting which Lucie recognizes and which is worth a fortune. I'm guessing the art gallery will find Lucie completely innocent and beg her to return, for her only to thumb her nose at them now she's King Arthur's trophy wife.
I didn't like Luci or Arthur; they were both as dumb as a bag of dumbbells, so maybe that makes them a perfect match, but that really put the brakes on this story for me. Girl with a secret past afraid of being embarrassed, and too stupid to tell all to the man she's supposedly falling in love with? I'm sorry but 'dumb broads' are not remotely interesting to me, nor is the 'billionaire falls for the poor girl' kind of a story - which is what this is, close enough, and you don't even get the eroticism! LOL! I ditched it and was glad I did. There's better to be had out there than this; much better.