Lark Eddington is a former noblewoman and member of the Ton, now immured in Marshalsea prison by the misfortunes of her father, who was an inveterate and phenomenally bad gambler who gambled away his entire estate and all its trimmings. When he was broke and in debt, he attempted theft to repair his fortunes but was caught. Instead of being sent to jail, he hanged himself to escape the shame and his debts therefore fell on his daughter instead. She sold everything she owned to pay off his debts, but still fell short by 500 pounds, so her father's debtors sent her to Marshalsea.
A lady, she is challenged by the prison, losing her few remaining clothes and her weekly scuttle of coal on the first day in prison. Luckily, she is befriended by a woman named Agnes, a former milliner also in prison for debt after her husband died and she fell on hard times. However, a notorious rake, Andrew Westerfield, decides that he wants Lark and attempts to get her in his debt so that he can debauch her into serving as his mistress. Agatha warns her, but Lark is only saved when her debts are paid off by Lord Basil Kingston, the Earl of Greyshire, and she is taken to his home.
There, she is apprehensive as to why he did so, but he soon explains that his mother asked him to redeem a woman from prison to be her companion and nursemaid. She is a difficult woman who has strong opinions and has run off any other companions her son has hired. Lark agrees to go meet her, and "King" (as he likes to be called) then redeems her friend Agnes to be her Abigail. They travel into the countryside to meet King's mother, who takes a liking to Lark after a disastrous first meeting.
But King reveals to his mother that he will be marrying soon, and that she must quit the larger house for the Dowager cottage (which isn't just a simple cottage). His mother is infuriated by this, but he has been called back to service in the navy by his country and soon must leave. His navy position, however, is to be a licensed privateer, and is quite dangerous.
Luckily for Lark, King has fallen for her and cannot stop thinking of her. Lark, too, feels something for him, and when he returns to the estate, he finds his mother has invited his fianceé and her mother for a visit. This brings the true state of his feelings to a head, and he ends up ending his relationship with his fianceé and marrying Lark instead.
But their greatest challenges are ahead. Andrew Westerfield still wants revenge on Lark for her refusal to become his mistress, and a housemaid let go from King's service after she mistreated Lark have joined together to bring Lark down. And when King himself is injured and nearly dead after his ship is sunk in battle with a French ship, it engenders a misunderstanding that could rend their marriage in two. Can they stay together and their love survive. Riight. As we all know, "Love conquers All".
This was a quick read for me, and an engaging bit of mind fluff, but not all that sensual or hot... at least for me. It's a perfectly fine, middle of the road romance, and better if you didn't spend money to read it. Since I got it from the library, this was pretty perfect for me. I wouldn't spend money to read it, but it was okay. A successful story, but not one where the characters will live in your memory or become your favorites.