When Bella Holsworthy returns to England after fifteen years roaming the globe with her husband, an elderly diplomat, she quickly finds herself in a position more perilous than any in her travels—the Court of King George IV. As the newly elevated Earl and Countess settle into an unfamilar life in London, this shy, not-so-young lady faces wicked agendas, society's censure, and the realities of a woman soon to be alone in England.
Unaccustomed to the ways of the beau monde, she is disarmed and deceived by a dissolute duke and a noble French émigré with a silver tongue. Hindered by the meddling of her dying husband, not to mention the King himself, Bella must decide between two eligible, fascinating--dangerous--suitors or the quiet country life she has searched the world to find.
A Wonderful Story
I have just tuned the last page and feel bereft. It seemed a lifetime passed in the pages of this amazing story and I did not want it to end. Skillfully plotted with the characters coming to life off the page as I smiled and cried with them.
Myron and Bella have returned to London after being away for fifteen years. With her older husband in bad health he wanted to find her a husband to take care of her when he was gone. What you say? Are you serious? Yes and it all makes sense. Bella would be an heiress and would have no protection.
Basically sold to her husband Myron by her father and brother she had traveled to many foreign lands and overall been content and seemed to shine by her husband's side. But society held against her some of the “unsuitable “ places for a woman she had visited.
Being thrown into the London scene, Bella felt inadequate and really disliked being whispered about by everyone. She found herself quickly pursued by two gentlemen, both dukes. Nick and Aldolphe set out to seduce Bella but each for different reasons that were not apparent at first. Nick becomes to realize, the more time he spends with Bella that he is truly starting to have feelings for her. Aldophe on the other hand hides his true self until little by little his nefarious reasons for pursuing Bella come out. As the story twist and turns, truths come out and the realization that danger lurks becomes evident.
I really enjoyed this story but at times I wanted to shake Bella and tell her to quit pulling Nick along. She had an obsessive devotion to her husband which was really understandable due to all he had done for her and treated her well. Also he really wanted her to be set when he was no longer there and only with the best man.
I have to thank the author for this very entertaining book which I am still thinking about days later. Cannot wait to read more books by her!
Strength and Determination
Bella Holsworthy has much to be thankful for - having escaped an abusive family by marrying a much older gentleman (a gentleman she came to have a deep affection for) & having that husband teach her how to have confidence in herself. All while living at sea for fifteen years. Now back in London due to her husband’s failing health has Bella’s old insecurities of the ton warring with her confidence.
Myron, Baron Holsworthy, knows he is not long for this world and wants to die knowing he has done everything he can to protect Bella from fortune hunters upon his death. There’s one he would warn her away from & one he would push her towards.
Charmed by a rakish Duke & wooed by a charming Frenchman but staying loyal to her husband has Bella in a constant state of confusion. Evil rears its ugly head with the help of a deceitful maid, a kidnapping, interference from her ailing husband & the king have Bella fleeing. But will she flee to a life of loneliness or can her happy ever after find her and who will it be with?
A character yelling, heart stopping story by the talented Mariana Gabrielle. Just when you think Bella’s going to get her HEA Ms. Gabrielle turns you around. Love Bella’s strength, her devotion to her ailing husband, the hero being broadsided by his feelings and the final twist of the story. Looking forward to Ms. Gabrielle’s next tale!