"Brava for first time writer Mullany!"
I got tired of Regencies, for a simple reason - no matter
how good they are, they just blended in my mind. When I
finished one, they soon faded into the "Regency
Collective", sort of like the Borg on Star Trek! So, it's
delightful to see one standing out from the crowd. And this
one does. So a big hand for this first time writer - Janet
Fabienne was a fresh-faced seventeen-year-old when she
first saw rake Adam Ashworth. With the sparkling passion of
first love, she gave him everything, her innocence...her
heart, only to have both treated with little value. So when
they meet again, twenty years later, Fabienne still feels
the sting of Adam's betrayal.
Now widowed, Adam lives in the country, but is summoned to
town because his ward has developed an obsession to a young
female artist. Fabienne has become a patroness of the arts
and is the sponsor for the young woman. She defends her
protégé against Adam's slanders.
While Fabienne is very popular in society with her elite
salons, she is a widow and feels very alone. She finds
solace in correspondence with a reclusive author, Mrs.
Ravenswood. Through the letters, their friendship deepens
to where Fabienne reveals her stinging pain of Adam's
betrayal, how the pain of the young love still hurts her
heart. Need a bond to another, Fabienne sets out to find
the recluse. Instead, she finds Adam. She assumes Mrs.
Ravenwood is Adam's mistress, so is destroyed to find the
one person she has revealed her pain to is likely laughing
at her. Her betrayal is receiving another turn of the screw
and she is so hurt.
Adam is Mrs. Ravenwood, but he is not sure how to confess.
He hoped to draw Fabienne to him through the charade, but
now sees it as a mistake that could destroy any chance he
hopes to have with Fabienne. Despite all this, Adam and
Fabienne are pulled into a relationship.
Brava for Mullany eschewing the darling belle of the ton
just coming out for giving us an older, more mature woman.
Her writing is sexy, savvy and she has created a story of
adults who have been hurt, who want love, but cannot see to
get past the pain to the love still there. Adam and
Fabienne are living, breathing characters not Regency
stereotypes. They have a full range of emotions and
complexities that draw the reader and will keep this
Regency living in your mind.
This book shows confidence way beyond a first time writer
and should mark Mullany as an author to watch.
One of the best Regencies I have read in years. Very highly
Reviewed by Deborah Macgillivray
Posted November 3, 2006