It's a good thing the introductory Author's Note was included in this new edition, because otherwise I would have been REALLY disappointed. Do not skip the Author's Note!It's very obvious this was the work of an inexperienced novelist - way too much angsty, repetitive internal monologuing, and the "are the people back home truly dumb enough to believe THAT story???" opening act was really contrived.Lucy would never hold her own with other Kleypas females like Lillian and Daisy Bowman, but by the last third of the book she evolved into a halfway-decent heroine. She seemed like a first-draft version of Annabelle in the first Wallflowers book.Heath, however, is no Simon Hunt. It took me a long time to warm up to this "illegitimate Southern loner who's politically progressive and mysteriously rich" hero. He was wildly inconsistent, seesawing between Mr. Perceptive Sensitivity and Mr. Brutish Neanderthal at unexplainable moments. The almost-rape scene had me ready to declare it a resounding Did Not Finish, but luckily Kleypas's editor must have waved the big red no-no flag. The appearance of the cookie-cutter Sinister Sister-in-Law was sadly predictable, and the Rayne/Raine naming weirdness? WTF is that??? Why did no one say "hey, Lisa, how about naming her Cruella or Maleficent instead?"Putting the crankiness aside, there were more than enough sparks of Future Kleypas flaring up to keep me interested, and it was fun to see how this rookie outing compares to her later beloved bestsellers (especially in the bedroom scenes....).The Concord/Boston setting was great - I loved the mentions of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Bronson Alcott. I wondered for a moment if Bronson's daughter would make an appearance as a BFF, but then I realized Louisa May would have had ZERO tolerance for Lucy's pre-marriage vanity and vapidness. (Vapidity?)The Reb-in-Yankee-Territory thing was a great conflict for the first half, and it came satisfyingly full circle in the HEA. Speaking of HEAs: Does Damon Redmond get his own sequel???