on 14 May 2008
Jo Beverley's writing is usually a cut above the crowd and this book is no different. Set in the Georgian period (fifty years earlier than the Regency) and revisiting some characters from previous novels, this works really well as a standalone novel and an introduction to Beverley's style.
When Robin Fitzvitry, the Earl of Huntersdown, is travelling back to England from some time spent in Versailles, he is rather surprised to come across a cursing nun at an inn. He soon rescues Sister Immaculata from her drudgery as companion to a shrieking woman and her two children and they travel together onward towards England.
Things aren't quite as they seem, however. Sister Immaculata isn't quite a nun; Robin isn't quite who he introduced himself to her as - a gentleman, Mr Bonchurch - and both have other things to hide. They travel into danger at an isolated farmhouse as Sister Immaculata, Petra d'Averio, is pursued by a man from her home in Milan. Petra is travelling to London to meet her father for the first time, an English aristocrat, but she won't tell Robin who he is. Robin, for his part, wants Petra for his mistress but knows she can be no more to him because of her illegitimacy. As they travel together through France, across the Channel and as Petra strikes off on her own across Kent and Sussex the story keeps the reader's interest and the characters are great. The little papillon dog Coquette is amusing and both Petra and Robin are well drawn with enjoyable conversations between them.
The basic premise, that Petra would indeed go off with a strange man she meets at an inn, I found a bit difficult to believe but the rest of the story was a great read with interesting locations, historical details and a few plot twists. This is a book to enjoy.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008
Over the last couple of years my "favourite" authors have been disappointing in characters and plot line
BUT this is another good plot and characters. Nice to meet characters from previous books, it makes the story more real, there really can't be limitless members of the aristocracy/nobility. It's also set in the Georgian, rather than the ubiquitious Regency period so favoured by most historical writers. It took them a long time to reach England, but what an adventure. Loved the main male character - Robin - and the introduction of other (hopefully future storylines) characters, and what can you say about . . . (sorry, I'll not spoil it)