by Shannon Donnelly
This Regency story offers far more excitement than do most novels in the genre. If you enjoy your romances within the ambiance of heart-pounding adventure, this book is for you! I found it refreshingly different from the type of story now being referred to as “tea-cuppy” on the Regency mailing lists.
The story takes place in 1803, before the actual ascendancy of the Prince Regent but during the exciting time of the Napoleonic Wars. If you know your dates of this conflict, you'll recognize 1803 as the year in which the Treaty of Amiens ended. At that time, Napoleon ordered all English persons in France arrested and incarcerated, military and civilian alike.
Alexandria and her niece Diana, unfortunate enough to be behind what has suddenly become enemy lines, barely escape capture. Fleeing across France in their carriage, they find themselves conveying a wounded man, who turns out to be the gentleman who had played a large part in Alexandria's being given the nickname "Lady Scandal." Paxten Marsett is clearly being hotly pursued by French troopers himself; the three join forces in a desperate attempt to get themselves back to England and safety.
Their flight involves a great deal of danger--and quite a bit of pleasure. Alexandria and Paxten have some fence-mending to do, Diana gives herself the task of guarding her aunt's reputation, an implacable French officer dogs their heels, and a fascinating back story unfolds at just the proper time. The story has the feel of an historical, but with the kind of accuracy that Traditional Regencies are noted for.
If you have a love for the period, for resourceful heroes and heroines, for character growth, and for enduring romance--and if you don't want your scenes always set in ballrooms and modiste shops--you will absolutely love this book. I highly recommend it.
“Fleeing arrest in post-Amiens France, Alexandria finds herself in the company of her wounded, former love.”
July 2004, 215 pages
Alexandria, the beautiful young widow once known as Lady Scandal among the ton of London, is trapped in France when war breaks out once more. Returning to England with her niece will be a dangerous journey, and one that begins under cover of darkness. When she climbs into her coach, Alexandria is shocked to find that her maid has been replaced by a man she knows only too well. Though she has not seen Paxten Marsett in nearly ten years, she recognizes her former lover's voice immediately. It is as deep as midnight and tempting as sin. . . .
With French soldiers in pursuit, there is not a second to spare if they are to reach the coast and safety. Paxten is wounded and his fever is rising, and they are all at risk of capture, imprisonment, and worse. Soon they have no choice but to abandon the coach and travel in disguise, sleeping under the stars or in humble country inns. Despite the dangers, Paxten's wish is to have one night alone with Alexandria--one last chance to rekindle the passion they once knew. And Alexandria cannot say no. . . .