In this lush new novel, Bertrice Small has created a moving story of consuming passion and undeniable love set against the noble splendor of Georgian England. . . .
As the daughter of the richest man in England, Allegra Morgan attracts a number of fortune hunters willing to overlook her flawed pedigree to gain her enormous wealth. Her most ardent suitor is the arrogant but impoverished Quinton Hunter, duke of Sedgwick, who has little to offer a prospective wife except his grand title. Allegra decides that if she must marry, she might as well be a duchess. So she agrees to the match with one condition: her husband must never ask for her love. She has seen the misery love can cause and has vowed to give her heart to no man--especially a dangerously alluring duke.
Quinton is dazzled by his new wife's grace and fortitude, as well as the fierce desire that rages between them. Despite his best intentions, he finds himself falling in love with her. Then the terrors of the French Revolution hit close to home, and the two of them set off on a treacherous adventure that could cost them everything . . . including their final chance at happiness.
For those who simply can't get enough of the fashion, food and folly of the British upper crust, Small (Skye O'Malley, etc.) dishes up yet another historical romance involving a couple who find themselves at odds before learning the meaning of true love in late-18th-century England and France. Quinton Hunter, duke of Sedgwick, has the bluest blood in England, "even bluer than the king's," but because his forebears gambled away the family fortune, he is now all but bankrupt so he must find a bride who is not only worthy but wealthy. Allegra Morgan is the daughter of the richest man in England, but because her mother was a woman of questionable virtue who left her husband and remarried an Italian count, a permanent stain mars polite society's view of her. Despite their initial dislike for one another, Quinton and Allegra decide to follow the dictates of cultural norms and consent to a marriage of convenience that will benefit both families. Inevitably, they become overwhelmed by each other's charms and love ensues. But there is no immediate happily ever after, as the plight of a French countess in distress draws the duo into a mission to save her from the Reign of Terror. The French portion of this tale of two cities, coming late in the novel and with little groundwork laid, feels as though the author suddenly decided to add some suspense to the suds in order to plump up the thin story. There's absolutely nothing new between these covers, and the Scarlet Pimpernel doings are just silly. Hardcore fans of which Small has plenty are the only ones who need seek entr e to this ball.