on January 15, 2019
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The true story of the Scarlet Pimpernel . . .Angelette, the recently widowed Comtesse d'Avignon, only invited Viscount Daventry to her country house party as a favor to her sister. When the handsome British lord arrives—two days late—he's full of unnerving tales of unrest and violence in Paris. Angelette assumes it's all exaggeration...until her chateau is attacked and her life threatened. Daventry rescues her, and the two are forced to run for their lives. But when danger closes in, will the viscount stand at her side or save himself?
Is not the one you've been told. Hugh Daventry visits France frequently to import wine for the family business. On his way out of the country, he stops at the comtesse's house party out of obligation. But after meeting the raven-haired beauty, he tries to persuade her to leave France with him. When the peasants attack, he realizes he's already too late, and now he must protect Angelette, whose sharp tongue is far from angelic. Too soon the couple is caught up in the rising revolution, dodging bloodthirsty mobs, hiding from soldiers, and embroiled in the attack of the Bastille. Hugh wants nothing but to leave tumultuous France for the calm of England. He knows Angelette is intelligent and resourceful—a survivor. But can Hugh survive without her?
~~Reviewed by Evelyn~~
Singing: “Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?”
I have been intrigued by the French Revolution from the first of many times that I saw Les Miz (the play, which was so much better than the movie—but that’s a whole different review). I found myself singing the songs in my head as I quickly got involved in reading TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN, the novella that serves as the introduction to the new Scarlett Chronicles series by Shana Galen.
In contrast to Les Miz, however, which tells the story from the viewpoint of the revolting peasants, TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN presents the viewpoint of the aristocracy. It is the fabulous story of the origin of the Scarlett Pimpernel and the rescue of members of the nobility who were being targeted for death by the insurgents.
English Viscount Hugh Daventry was in France for his family’s wine importing business. Before returning home, he attended a house party at the estate of recently widowed Angelette, the Comtesse d’Avignon, whose relatives asked him to bring her to London with him due to the dangerous situation that was developing in France. Angelette refused to believe that things were as bad as Daventry was describing, and she insisted that she would remain loyal to her late husband’s family in France. Unfortunately, Daventry had been telling the truth, and Angelette soon found herself homeless when peasants burned her home to the ground.
What happens to Angelette and Daventry after they flee into the night to save their lives becomes part of a beautifully crafted, well-written story that is as complex as any novel even though it is a novella. The attention to historical detail is admirable, and the author did not shy away from even the very ugly parts of this time in history. Ms. Galen’s writing shows an uncommon passion for the French Revolution and she has definitely done her homework.
The characters are also complex and fully developed. Daventry is a man of honor who cannot leave Angelette, even though staying with her could mean the loss of his life. Angelette is a strong, intelligent woman who is determined to stand by her adopted country no matter what it may cost her. Their romance began in a very intense situation but was still authentic, realistic and timely. The secondary characters, most notably Sir Percy and the Vicomte de Merville and his wife, add interest and depth.
TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN is a page-turner with many twists and turns. It can easily be read in one sitting and you are going to want to do so. Another five-star read from Shana Galen! I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
“There’s a life about to start when tomorrow comes!” Still singing……..
I voluntarily read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book and the views expressed are my honest opinions.