Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
Wonderful!!! Race and Anne are just perfect :)
on 1 September 2003
The long-awaited Hazard, direct sequel to Dragon's Bride and incidental connection to the Rogues books, is finally here! And it's well worth the wait.
Lady Anne Peckforth, daughter of the Duke of Arran, who will make her husband a rich man but who is considered less desirable by virtue of the fact that she has a club foot (walks with an unsightly limp, can't dance), has just suffered her second disappointment. Following on from Lord Middlethorpe's snub - he married another woman while in the process of negotiating for her hand - she then hears that Con, Viscount Amleigh, has married someone else after having indicated an interest in her. So she is doubly rejected.
Race de Vere, introduced in Dragon's Bride as Con's secretary, was asked by 'King Rogue', Nicholas Delaney, to check up on Anne. After all, she is unfinished business: twice a Rogue played dirty with her, and Nicholas therefore considers her his responsibility. He wants Race to establish whether she is genuinely hurt. So Race attaches himself to the Marquess of Uffham, Anne's brother, allowing Uffham to use him as semi-companion, semi-servant, all in the interests of helping the Rogues and seeing what he can do for Anne. Race, after all, is a congenital 'helper'.
Race, we discover, has very uncertain origins. He bears a surname which he has no right to - his father changed the family name in an attempt to 'gentrify' them, but didn't realise that the name he chose would be immediately suspect, as it was the family name of the Earls of Oxford, a line now extinct. So Race attracts attention everywhere as someone who can't possibly be what he appears. And anyway, as a 'hanger-on' to Society, he could never aspire to the hand of Lady Anne Peckforth.
Yet attraction sparkles between the two of them; when Anne asks Race to teach her about men and how they flirt, he only has to kiss her hand for her to realise that no man has ever aroused her senses with a simple kiss ever before. But Race isn't for Anne; how can she marry a man without a past, whose background makes him totally ineligible?
So she sets out to find a 'suitable' husband; yet none of the men she meets, and who fall over themselves to flatter her, appeal to her in any way. They all fall short next to Race. So should she obey her family by choosing a suitable titled gentleman, or follow her heart's desire... even if it means disgrace?
I adored this book. Anne is fleshed out extremely well here, and we learn that she is intelligent, shrewd, with a clever, dry sense of humour which is displayed to good effect in her verbal fencing matches with Race. There are scenes with her old friend Tris, the Duke of St Raven, which also sparkle with humour and wit - and the rats, mice and farthings discussions are hilarious! In fact, for a time there was an intriguing triangle going on with Race, Tris and Anne.
Hazard also introduces us to Tris, the Duke of St Raven, whom Beverley has assured us will be the hero of her next book. And already I can't wait!