So without rehashing the plot (which you can read in the description) what can I say about it?
I LOVED the characters! Melissa reminded me of Bathsheba Everdeen from Tom Hardy's "Far from the madding crowd"(only without the conceit). She was bold, enterprising, cared nothing for conventions and worked like 10 men as she managed her late father's shipyard and lumber
forest. At 6 feet tall, Melissa is not your usual romantic heroine and I really loved that.
Gabriel reminded me of Edmund Dante of "The Count of Monte Cristo. He is suffering badly from a spell of tortuous imprisonment (& betrayal) in France and now after escaping has to hide his identity in a village along the cornish coast.
Aside from the two main characters I found the villagers/ shipbuilders well rounded and real. Melissa's stuffy relatives were also well portrayed and realistic for the time period.
This book has everything I love in a good yarn: intrigue, smuggling, adventure, romance, hidden identities...it didn't disappoint on any levels.
If I was to give this book a TV rating I suppose it would be PG. There are no sex scenes or even steamy scenes. Gabriel is "propositioned" (unsuccessfully) by a village tart in one chapter and casual mention is made of a few dalliances in his past.
Cussing is mild for USA readers but UK readers may find it moderate. (fairly liberal sprinkings of "bloody" and a few "buggers")
There is no gore and very mild violence ~hardly worth mentioning. Gabriel is dragged by a horse in one instance and gets beaten in another but the mention is brief and there are no real descriptive details of either event except to describe bruising etc.
Bottom line: I loved it and am anxious to try out the authors other books!