A Betting Chance
by Lynne Connolly
"The Triple Countess" series, set in Georgian England, continues with the fourth installment, A Betting Chance. I'm new to this series by Ms. Connolly, but for the most part I didn't have a problem following the storyline, so don't worry about catching up if you want to give this one a try.
Sapphira finds herself promised in marriage to an unacceptable man, and with parents that believe the only goal for a woman should be to have as many children as possible. Her father belongs to the set that believe a sound beating is deserved for any child's defiance. After one such beating, Sapphira realizes that she has to make some other plans.
Corin hears through the grapevine that, unbeknownst to him, a mysterious woman is using his name for entrance into a gaming establishment. Finding the woman to be not only masked for secrecy sake, but utterly beguiling along with it, he sets out to find out who she is.
Usually, I'm not a big fan of characters that fall instantaneously for each other. I like it to take a little longer for the hero and heroine to discover love, but in this book it worked for me. With the mystery surrounding her, it made sense that Corin would continue to pursue her. The desire to protect someone who was being abused spurred Corin's interest and involvement. That all made sense to me and made the story believable.
On top of that, Sapphira was a great heroine. Life is never easy, and Sapphira's life definitely has its hardships. We all have to do a certain amount of compromise, just in living day to day. Sapphira had her compromises that she was willing to make, but she drew her line. And when someone tried to cross it, she made plans to take care of herself. Never once did she expect someone else to handle her problems, and even when she finally gave in and told Corin about everything, she didn't fall back on him expecting him to clean it up. She still went right ahead with her plans.
Because this is a series that I haven't yet read, there were some definite characters and relationships that eluded me. While it might have enriched the story to know the backstory, I wasn't so lost that I didn't enjoy it; enough so that I will be looking for the previous books in the series to revisit the family.
“She's determined to escape and he's determined to stop her.”
February 2011, 232 pages
Sapphira Vardon needs five thousand pounds to avoid a cruel marriage and a grim future, and there's only one path for her. Don a mask and an assumed name, and risk everything to win at the gaming tables. First, though, she has to get through the door. Luckily she knows just whose name to drop. Corin, Lord Elston, is curious to find out who used his name to gain entrance to Mother Brown's whorehouse and gaming hell. The enigmatic woman who calls herself Lydia isn't the sort of female usually found here. Behind her mask and heavy makeup, she's obviously a respectable woman - who plays a devilish hand of cards. Sapphira is desperate to keep her identity a secret, but Lord Elston's devastating kisses and touches demand complete surrender. And once he learns the truth, there's more at stake than guineas. Corin finds himself falling hard for a woman who's poised to run. A woman who's about to learn that he only plays to win…