"Jaded" would be the word to describe Samuel Thatcher, Bow Street officer and Captain of the Horse Patrol. He's seen too much of the dark side of humanity, and he wants nothing more than to leave the force and become a farmer. But standing between him and that goal is an evil gang of highwaymen and a lack of finances.
Abigail Gilbert finally has a chance to be free of her stepmother's scorn and abuse—and the family who never loved her. She is betrothed to a baronet whom she has only met once. Things are looking up, or so she believes. On her journey to wed, her carriage is attacked by highwaymen.
Captain Thatcher shows up just in time to save Abby, and she convinces him to escort her the rest of the way on her journey. The payment he'll receive will at last give him the money he needs to buy his own land and leave the force for good. But highwaymen are hunting him. There's also the matter of a promise he made to an old friend, to safely bring the man's baby daughter to her aunt.
Thatcher is used to the gratitude of people he has rescued, and he never allows it to become anything more than that, but somehow Abby is different. She stubbornly and persistently looks beneath the dour surface of the Captain and sees his compassionate heart. But she is promised to another ...
I devoured this book, staying up far too late reading it. I couldn't put it down, and when it ended, I was sad that it was over. The prose was witty, the characters deep and real, and the author, Michelle Griep, made me really care about what happened to them. Samuel Thatcher was dour and jaded, but beneath that exterior he had a compassionate and loving heart. Abby was desperate to be part of a loving family, and that desperation almost entangled her in a snare that looked lovely on the outside, but on the inside was empty and cold. Thank goodness that God had other plans, and that Abby and Samuel were open to his leading. This book had its nail-biting moments, unexpected twists, and a highly satisfactory ending. I loved this whole series so much, and it's a series I would read again and again, which is saying a lot. I highly recommend The Noble Guardian and the previous two books in the Bow Street trilogy as well.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. The opinions I have expressed are my own.