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Honoria Blake knows she must have had a moment of madness when she accepted a summons by the Scarlet Pimpernel to travel to revolutionary Paris and help his League. She’s an expert forger and glad her services can be of use, but the violence of the Reign of Terror has her longing for her quiet, unobtrusive life in London. Then a bloody man staggers to the door of the house where she’s hiding, claiming he was sent by the Pimpernel. Recently escaped from La Force prison, the former Marquis de Montagne is sinfully handsome and charming. He’s also desperate enough to kidnap Honoria. So much for her return to the quiet life.
Can be a beast…
Laurent is a consummate rake, but even he is captivated by the beautiful Honoria. Laurent cares almost nothing for his own life, but he was always close to the royal family and the little princess was like a sister to him. He will risk everything to save her from a life of imprisonment and possible execution. His plan is risky and surely doomed, but if he can convince Honoria and the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel to help him, it just might succeed. The only question is how far he’s willing to go and whether he’s willing to risk the life of the only woman he’s ever loved to save a doomed princess.
~~Reviewed by Barbara~~
It was the worst of times – literally. Can you picture yourself living in the time of the Reign of Terror in France? A time where anyone, noble, merchant or peasant could have their heads lopped off just because someone else accused them of something – no proof – just guilty until proven innocent. But then, proving innocent wouldn’t do you any good because you’d already be dead. Nobody can be trusted. The King has been beheaded and the Queen will be next. Armed mobs roam the streets and there is no safety. That is the setting for this series of books and the author does an outstanding job of making you feel the tension and terror of the time. She takes you right there so you feel, taste, hear, and see what was going on in Paris. She made it so interesting that I had to go out and do some research into the times myself. It makes a person shiver to think about what those people went through.
This book focuses on the Scarlet Pimpernel’s group attempting to rescue the king’s young children from the tower in Paris where they are imprisoned. There is the young son who, technically, is now king, and his older sister. They are separated and imprisoned with no idea what their fate might be. Those children must have been terrified.
Laurent, former Marquis de Montagne, begins to slowly come-to-grips with the fact that his wealth, title and position in society are gone and he is a hunted man. His growth throughout this book is a sight to behold. He slowly realizes that he has squandered his wealth and privilege by living the life of a debauched, unappreciative rake. He’s arrogant, self-centered and reckless – and you will fall in love with him! He’s also determined to rescue the king’s children or die trying.
Honoria Blake is the daughter of a gentleman, but she has no means and has to support herself by working as an antiquities expert at the British Museum – and – well – she also does expert document forgeries. Honoria was orphaned at fifteen and her stunning beauty has brought her nothing but problems her entire life, so she does her best to hide it by wearing clear gasses, dull clothes, and severe hairstyles. She desperately wants to be appreciated for who she is and what she can do rather than her beauty. She also distrusts men – all men – and she has no intention of ever letting one use her again. She really wants to work for the Scarlet Pimpernel and quickly heads to Paris when he asks her to help.
Although they don’t know it, the Pimpernel’s goals match those of Laurent. They rescue him from La Force prison where he is in the process of being beaten and murdered by a mob in the courtyard. He is quickly handed a note and told to go to the address and he’ll be safe. The difference between the two is that the Pimpernels want to plan and execute the rescue with the highest chance of success and Laurent wants to move quickly with little or no planning.
There is a knocking at the front door of the safe house and when she answers it she finds a bruised and beaten man there. Things quickly go downhill and Laurent ends up kidnapping Honoria because the Pimpernel group won’t help him quickly enough (I did say he was reckless). Their trip across Paris to Laurent’s rented flat is fraught with danger and your heart will be pounding by the time they get to their destination. That is just the beginning to an exciting, heart-pounding, romance and adventure – read the book to see it in all of its glory!
It is heartwarming to watch Laurent grow and learn to love and to see Honoria learn to love and trust. Their romance is lovely and you truly believe they are in love.
The story is well-written, well researched, tightly plotted and fast-paced. The author owns this period and place! I highly recommend the book and the series.