Mary Nichols is a well-established novelist who writes in two different genres, family sagas for Allison & Busby and historical romance for Mills & Boon. She is the author of the best selling saga, The Summer House which was on the long list for the Romantic Novelists Association Romantic Novel of the Year award 2009 and is still selling strongly. Others are The Fountain, The Kirilov Star and The Girl on the Beach, all published by Allison & Busby in print and as ebooks. Of the thirty-plus books she has written for Mills & Boon most are Regency, but others have backgrounds taken from the English Civil War right through to Victorian times. The most recent form a series of linked books about crime in Georgian Society and how it was dealt with by a group of aristocratic gentlemen who fall in love while doing it. They are: The Captain's Mysterious Lady, (short listed for the Romantic Novelists' Association Love Story of the Year award 2010), The Viscount's Unconventional Bride, Lord Portman's Troublesome Wife, Sir Ashley's Mettlesome Match and The Captain's Kidnapped Beauty (shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association RoNA Rose award 2011). These, including some of her backlist, have also been published as ebooks. Mary Nichols is also the author of The Mother of Necton, a biography of her grandmother who was a village nurse and midwife from the early years of the 20th century until the formation of the National Health Service in 1948. It is out of print in its original hardback form published by Breedon Books in 2000, but has been updated and re-issued in paperback by The Larks Press. You can learn more about these books and more by visiting her website at www.marynichols.co.uk
Okay on the plus side the heroine is not a school girl and the story starts off well, explaining her difficult and unconventional upbringing and introducing the duke and his usefulness to the Prince Regent. So we know he is neither idle or suffering from cynical ennui. But the plotting lets this tale down, a Duke's only son both a soldier and a spy? From an early age he would have been instilled with the necessity to keep himself safe indeed his powerful parent could and likely would have done much to prevent his son and heir being so exposed. But that is a minor bit of unreality, it is the plot concerning the Count and his forcing Sophie to agree to be his betrothed that I find unconvincing. Why would she give in to him after the briefest of conversations and a few vague comments suggesting he was behind her father's death? She is under the protection of a Duke who is a powerful man in his own right and has connections with the highest in the land. The count conversely is a foreigner in a country lately at war with his allies, he could at least find himself shipped off on the next boat to Italy having as good as confessed to murder and espionage. Yet the strong willed, sensible Sophie just gives in to him.
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