Cover love and a great series start

A Wicked Pursuit - Isabella Bradford
The setup
Harry Fitzroy, Earl of Hagreave, was ready for marriage and had set his sights on the beautiful but fickle Lady Julia Wetherby. He left London with the purpose of proposing to her at her family's home in Norfolk but was seriously injured after being thrown from a horse just before he was to ask for her hand. If not for her sister, Lady Augustus (Gus), Harry wouldn't have survived the accident. 

The issues
Harry is extremely handsome and considered quite the catch given he's the heir to his father's dukedom. However, Julia believes he's going to end up crippled so she goes after greener pastures, leaving him to the care of her sister. Over time, Gus and Harry develop a friendship that blossoms into a romance. 

What I enjoyed about the story
Gus is the plain sister but there's nothing bland about her heart and capabilities. I liked that she wasn't a shrinking violet when it mattered and knew how to handle the arrogant and often prickly Harry. I eventually came to like him, primarily because he recognized the beauty within Gus and evolved from the shallow man who would once deserved someone like Julia. Their romance was lovely, developing slowly as they got to know each other beyond a nurse/patient relationship. It was also in keeping with the norms of the era. 

I loved that the characters followed a unique path in the story...none of that angst over the returning sister, etc. They had different challenges mostly due to Harry's personality changes and his altered physical condition. 

The bottom line
It was a welcome change of pace to not be contending with London society for 90% of the book! The setting is in the countryside with a more relaxed atmosphere and different issues. I'm a fan of the related series (the Wylder Sisters) and am now hooked on this one. While there are references to some of the characters from those stories, this one stands completely on its own. This was a very good start to what promises to be an interesting series. 

(I received an ARC from NetGalley)