Louise Allen's books are often set during the Regency time period but they tend to offer something a little different from the norm - in this case, a heroine whose background walks an uneasy line between aristocracy and Trade.Bree Mallory's half-brother is a viscount, but her mother's second marriage was a love match, and she married a tradesman. As a result, Bree's brother has inherited a half-interest in a stagecoach company which Bree helps to operate. This hasn't been too much of a problem until the night when a group of bored young aristocrats out racing crashes literally into Bree's world as she drives a stage. Add into this her half-brother's impending marriage and Bree finds herself constantly in the company of Max Dysart, an earl and a noted driver.I normally enjoy Allen's writing because her characters tend to be clever and the dialogue in her books often sparkles. That's true to an extent here. Some of the exchanges between Bree and Max do work well. However, the story is pretty wallpapery and as it goes on, the jarringly anachronistic portions of the story overwhelmed the romance.My first hint that something could be awry came fairly early on as Bree discovers that Max has a nipple piercing. Perhaps the occasional early 19th century earl did things like this, but it seemed a little improbable to me. And then there was Bree's companion. Once her half-brother's marriage brought more scrutiny onto Bree and the coaching company, Bree has to do the proper thing and get herself a chaperon/companion. And of course, her employee becomes her bestest friend ever and even though she's a gently bred governess/girls' school teacher, the companion thinks it would be lovely to try her hand at helping run a pretty rough stagecoaching office. On top of all that, Bree is one of those heroines who thinks nothing of going off unaccompanied in a manner that proper young ladies of the time just would not have done.The book has its moments and I found the heroine's unusual background intriguing, but it was a fairly "meh" read for me overall.