Erin is looking for this book – and has been hunting for a long time. Someone told her it was “Whitney, My Love” by Julia Quinn – HA! – but she says that's not it.
I cannot remember much about the book accept that the hero & heroine marry when she is quite young (possibly below 18yo but I'm not 100% sure). Hero leaves and then comes back years later. Hero might be a spy or working for the Crown…?
Later on someone tells the heroine that there are/were rumors running rampant about why the hero had left her and never introduced her to society, instead he keeps/kept her “hidden” away in the country; some rumors were about her being severely deformed, etc. The person who tells her this is another “child bride” and not vindictive but somewhat naive. Anyway, heroine confronts the hero about it and he claims not to have known about the rumors. I cannot remember why but I think he may have been out of the country all those years…? I think he also had shown up again to claim the heroine months after he had claimed he was originally going to…
Right after the confrontation, the heroine is attacked by a man out for revenge against the hero; the man attempts to rape her but the hero steps in in time to stop him.
Anyone recognize this book? Sounds rather old skool to me.