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In 1794, Widowed Countess Eseld Trehearne seeks revenge for the brutal death of her female companion during a Paris riot. On her return to England, Eseld delves into espionage to defeat the French rebels.
Baron Robert Penhale, Eseld’s childhood love, rejoins the Secret Services after his wife’s death. He’s determined to protect England from the revolution terrorizing France.
A ruthless French spy fights for the common man while disguised as an English aristocrat. He’s intent on revenge against those who oppose him.
With the spy stalking them and Robert in fear for Eseld’s life, the fate of the couple verges on disaster.
Read an Excerpt
Eseld finished her punch and looked away.
“I was being friendly with the viscount, on a purely decent level, on my part.”
“I’m worried about you. Men can take advantage.
As in being purely mercenary.” Robert’s emotion rose to the surface, rawer than he wished. “I want you to be very cautious.”
“I’m aware of greedy men. And I’m not romantically involved, if that’s what concerns you.” She didn’t sound angry, more a question. A yearning?
“Are you collecting friends or inquiring where you should not?” He toned down his rhetoric, not wishing to upset her.
“That again. You think me foolish, or incapable.”
Her reply was soft despite what she stated. She didn’t deny her motives.
He moved closer. His heartbeat thudded; was she investigating a possible spy as he first surmised?
“You are one of the most capable women I know. Please, confide in me.”
They appeared to still dance around one another—this time with words.
She turned and faced him. “I don’t want us to be at odds.”
She paused for a moment and lightly touched his stock. “Is that all you seek, me to confide? Am I but a contrary girl who must be guided by you?”
“Truthfully, as we were always truthful in our youth, I want to kiss you.”
He cupped her upper arms and couldn’t believe he’d said that aloud. Her jasmine perfume invaded his senses.
“Pardon my boldness. I’m not of your station anymore, am I?”
“That doesn’t matter to me,” she whispered. “But aren’t you still in mourning?”
Oooo, a historical romance that is thoughtfully researched, features a couple that is older (late 30s), and a plot that is interesting and fascinating. No simpering women or arrogant men to have to roll your eyes at and a child that steals your heart. Not to mention the intrigue and mystery surrounding the couple. Of course, its set during the French Revolution and how some the English supported the French. Like a said, interesting doesn’t even start to describe this book.
Ms. Lewis does an excellent job of keeping you invested in Eseld and Robert. They are apart and then together throughout the book. Their romance is almost secondary to the overall arc of the book but I liked that. We already know the backstory early on in the book, so there is no need to really go into their romance. You just know that they are destined to be together but there is the matter of the undercover spy and how they will play out.
For some reason, I kept picturing Guy Pearce as the spy. Maybe I have watched the movie, “The Count of Monte Cristo” too much? I don’t know but that image never left my mind. Ms. Lewis does an excellent job with him even though you know what’s going to happen to him in the end. I loved how Eseld and Robert just kept missing him until the bitter end. That left for good intrigue and mystery with them.
Overall, I loved this book. The real bonus for me was Tamara showing up. Shampoo? A diary? Yes, I have read Ms. Lewis before and love her work. She treats her readers with intelligence. Yes, somehow educates you, too. Love it. So do yourself a favor and pick this little gem up. You’ll thank me later.
About the Author:
Diane Parkinson (Diane Scott Lewis) grew up near San Francisco, joined the Navy at nineteen, married in Greece and raised two sons in Puerto Rico, California, and Guam. She’s a member of the Historical Novel Society and wrote book reviews for their magazine. She’s always loved travel and history and has had several historical novels published. Her most recent is the Oyster War Novel set in the 1950s: Ghost Point.
Her spy novella, To Entice a Spy, set in England during the French Revolution—two former lovers chase a ruthless spy; will love rekindle as murder stalks them?—will be released on October 11, 2021.
Diane lives with her husband and one naughty dog in western Pennsylvania.
For more on her books visit her website.