Publisher: Bantam Books
Date Published: May 2010
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Lil
Obtained via Publisher
Lord Vere is a British secret agent. His facade as harmless, bumbling and befuddled has stood him in good stead for hunting down criminals. The public persona has been nothing if not effective but the constant act even when amongst loved ones has been a greater burden than he could ever have imagined.
The latest assignment throws him into the exceedingly narrow path of Elissande Edgerton. As a woman of 24, she keenly feels her situation of isolation. But even more, she is gripped by a desperation to escape her utterly cruel and controlling uncle. Her goal has been hampered by an equally desperate need to protect and save her frail aunt.
There has been very little recourse at the country manor where she and her aunt and uncle reside. When a sparklingly polished house-party group come to plead refuge under her roof, luck seems to have finally turned. Her uncle is away and if she can but ensnare one of these fine gentlemen, she may achieve her goals once and for all.
While the plot of this story was somewhat dubious upon looking back after reading the book, the writing itself absolutely dazzled. How the author managed to take such an unlikely situation and make it so touching, hilarious, and tragic is well and truly beyond me. She uses some extremely unlikely prose for seduction and turns it into something exquisitely romantic.
Readers are unlikely to find another heroine more worthy of being saved or stronger for her time period. Her actions are drastic, scandalous and yet appear to have logic to them. Elissande’s will to survive is as large as her capacity to love.
Our hero on the other hand is surprisingly unforgiving for a great portion of the story and it was difficult to watch him repeatedly hardening his heart to Ellie. One must also note that though he has had 13 years of practice, he makes slips and his true personality shows rather more easily than one would expect. In this regard, it didn’t really make sense to carry on acting the idiot when in private with Elissande.
It is with a deft pen that we are introduced to the chillingly disturbing uncle. Though Douglas Edgerton is not present for much of the book, the impact of his character and the fear he inspires in his niece and his wife was vivid.
The talent of the author enables the reader to suspend disbelief as we follow this tale. If the play on wit and dialogue doesn’t capture you, nothing in romance likely will.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.