This was a very different kind of story than I am used to reading. The hero, Elliot Marchmont, is a gentleman, former soldier & spy, and notorious thief known as "The Peacock". Elliot is no ordinary thief. He steals from those who have either been traitors, or who have contributed to the death or disenfranchisement of the English soldier. He's a complicated good guy. He first meets the heroine, Lady Deborah, while stealing from the home of her loathsome brother-in-law. Thiers is a chance meeting in moonlight and very romantic. When they meet again by chance some time later, their attraction only grows. Deborah convinces Elliot to take her on a few of his escapades. Lady Deborah is equally as complex a character as Elliot. She was married years ago when she was just a girl, believing she was marrying for love. Unfortunately she came to find out that her husband was only marrying her for money - which didn't really work out for him in the end. He ended up a very bitter man and overdosing - whether by intention or accident. It's difficult to feel any pity for her late husband because he treated her abominably and let her believe that the problems in the marriage were strictly because of her and her inadequacies. Her let her know this often and very cruelly. For solace, she turns to writing to express herself. She creates the character Bella Donna - a sort of alter ego. Bella Donna is a strong, almost dominatrix-like character who embodies all the traits Deborah believes she does not possess. I love the layers these characters have, and the romance that develops between them. I also like the ending and the way Deborah decides to free herself of the past and thumb her nose at her brother-in-law.