Christmas Awards 2011

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Masquerading Mistress


Harlequin Mills & Boon/paperback

This intriguing story opens in England 1794, where we are allowed a brief peep into the lives of a pair of young lovers. Eloise St Clair, who is beautiful with red blonde hair and acts like a will-of the wisp, never still, darting in and out of the life of Maxwell a young eighteen year old son of the local gentry, she is the daughter of the vicar. They become lovers and Maxwell gives Eloise a gold locket as a betrothal gift, with a drawing of each of them inside, they seal their pact with blood.

We are next in Penleven Castle in Cornwall in the year 1816 twenty-two years later, we have no idea what has happened to the young lovers.
Penleven Castle is the home of the Duke of Penborne, who is scarred badly both in mind and face. He has been living virtually as a recluse since his terrible ordeals in France during the wars. He was in a church, which was blown up by cannon fire, most of the people inside perished, he survived but with terrible injuries and spent months in a French hospital, before returning home.
In London a beautiful young woman named Caroline Anstretton, who lives by her wits and her twin brothers' gambling, claims to be the lover of the Duke. It was in desperation that she proclaimed this to the amazed crowd as she was about to be claimed by Excelsior Beaufort-Hughes, an old and obnoxious rake, as his prize, saying that after having had the Duke as a lover she could not sleep with such as he.
Having this tale related to him by his cousin Leonard Lindsey and being told that it soiled the Lindsey name made the Duke at first laugh then furious but after a while he became intrigued. It must be the old training he had as a spy in the British army, it had made him curious when any strange events occurred.
He was just curious enough to make him leave his castle and travel to London.
Confronting Miss Anstretton at a ball. The Duke was at first cold and aloof but something in the young girl’s eyes, almost a pleading, touched him and he acknowledged her and said he would like to renew their association. The whole room was intrigued; whispers and questions rang throughout the ballroom.
What will happen next and will she find happiness?
I found this book intriguing and an exciting read, there are many entwined threads to this story, have fun finding all the answers, living the ups and the downs of this fascinating tale and unravel the story of Eloise and Maxwell. I award this book 5 red roses. AS

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