Anne Marsh is a plain, meek, and biddable young woman who is happily engaged to a young man who shares her interest in fossils. On a trip to Bristol to visit an aunt, an object will be put into her basket by a sailor who is later found dead. Thus will begin an adventure that will take her into danger and introduce her to a love that will change her life forever. Anne's family are member of the Dissenters; a religion that is much stricter than the Church of England. Her life has been quiet surrounded by a loving family who deals with everything thrown at them with love, humor, and a strong faith in the Lord.
Lord Jonathan Devoran St. George comes from a long line of wealthy aristocrats that have owned the castle of Wyldeshay for generations. Wanderlust took him all throughout India and Asia. There he met a man who discovered a fabulous assortment of skeletons in the deserts of China, one of which has been stolen and taken to England. Jack has followed the fossil to England with the plan to return it to Asia. When he sees the sailor get killed, he follows the killer and searches for the tooth. This search leads him to Anne's bedroom where he interrupts someone else searching for the tooth.
Jack convinces Anne that she must go to Wyldeshay with him where her life can be protected. As their journey is disrupted, Jack will find himself drawn to Anne in ways that he can't understand. Jack's life during his travels has been the subject of much speculation by the ton. His family has heard numerous stories, each more fantastic than the last. Jack and Anne will face family difficulties and danger together because of the tooth together, forging a relationship that will puzzle both families.
This is a dark, compelling tale with a complicated storyline and some fascinating characters. Some of the conversations needed an interpretive guide to be able to follow them more easily. There are family secrets which are discussed in obscure ways which left me floundering to understand the meaning of some the conversations. It is obvious that the author did a great deal of research into fossils and Asia which is imparted in a fascinating way. But, since I'm not fond of tortured heroes, I found this book very hard to like despite the excellent quality of the writing.