I so loathed that cold-hearted coward Constance. And yes. She is the heroine of the romance. Why the hero, Tony, gave her even the time of day certainly defied any reason I could muster. Constance is so horrible to him. Refusing to see him during daylight because she thinks he is beneath her social station. Yet Tony is the one who rescues her from almost certain prostitution and destitution. Constance married a man old enough to be her father because he had a title. And could not please him sufficiently to stop him taking a mistress. Even now, after her first aged husband’s death, Constance is yet again willing to wed anyone, anyone with a title, so long as they give her security and respectability. She is so horrible. How is this novel a romance? Oh. Because she gets all emotional when she’s with Tony. Actually she treats him with no respect. She acts like his pimp in many ways. Getting him to steal this and that, then hand over his money to her. She’s continually cruel and hurtful towards the hero. Even the nominal villain, Lord Jack Barton, treats her with way too much respect.
Poor Tony. Of course in the end Constance declares her love for him. But that is only because she is expecting Tony’s baby. I doubt even a single day will pass in the next 20 years when she doesn’t remind him how she married beneath her station. Poor Tony.