THE DARK AFFAIR, by Maire Claremont

3/series. Set in mid-Victorian London, Viscount Powers wakes from an opium binge to find himself in a mental institution, put there by his despairing father. Powers' counselor is Lady Margaret Cassidy, an Irishwoman with a dark, unhappy past: daughter of Irish nobility, survivor of the on-going Irish famine that killed millions, and a Crimean war nurse who has seen it all. Powers, beset by dark memories he tries to drown with drugs and living dangerously, has finally got himself too far down the road to ruin. Margaret is convinced by Power's father to become more than merely a nurse. For reasons of her own,...Click for more...
including a brother on the run from the law, and an opportunity to aid her fellow Irish, she agrees. But there's more to her acquiescence than mere noble altruism, she's powerfully attracted to the viscount. Tense and intriguing, the story of Powers' recovery is set against the horrific details of the completely avoidable Irish famine, when the British government and the ruling classes deemed the people of Ireland mere vermin, expendable and of no concern. The romance, deftly drawn, is woven in with larger issues that make this more than just a story about two people coming to terms with mutual attraction. It's a 4; sex is a 3. If you lvoe historical romances, this one is better than most.