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By: Elizabeth Aston

Alethea, the youngest, most talented and high-spirited daughter of the Darcys, has married too hastily on the rebound. She soon discovers that her husband is not only a brute but that he has bizarre ideas about a wife's duty in the bedroom. She will have to flee, yet she knows he will pursue her.

She must take drastic measures to foil his plans and protect herself. So Alethea sets out to cross the Channel, masquerading as one Aloysius Hawkins, gentleman. Accompanied only by her redoubtable maid, Figgins, her plan is to join her elder sister in Italy.

But events - always dramatic and at times life threatening - conspire to keep the sisters apart. Until the mysterious Titus Manningtree, in Italy to pursue a lost Titian painting, takes a hand in her complicated affairs...