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Gillie is now all grown up and she's has the distinction of being known as the ward of the wealthy Ewen Sinclair and the toast of the London Season. But... since she doesn't have a family and nobody really knows about her past, Gillie knows she has no hopes of marrying well. Nevertheless, she's a beautiful, feisty little gal who occasionally slips into street cant and who can fight like the devil's business if anyone tries to harm her. Because she lived as a male for several years, she has the uncanny ability to become one of the guys in a remarkable manner, especially considering she's grown into a sweet armful of femininity.
Into this world, our hero, Damon Ryder, returns from America. He's the younger son of a large family who's always had everything handed to him on a silver platter. Because of this, he decided to travel far away and become his own man so to speak. He's now returned home after being away for several years and stops in London to rest up a bit before traveling on to his family's home. He can't help but be intrigued by our little Gillie, but has no idea how soon their paths will intersect in a lifechanging manner.
For indeed, when they're both in attendance at a ball, Gillie is tricked into going outside by a lecherous young man who has ulterior motives which he acts upon. Although she beats the guy to a pulp with Damon having to pull her off, the episode is misunderstood and Damon saves the day by announcing their betrothal. As shocking as it is to Gillie and the Sinclairs, Damon makes sure they all know he did it protect Gillie and that she can cry off in a few weeks or months.
Thus the foundation for the storyline which enables the reader with ample opportunity to become acquainted with Damon and Gillie as he begins to court her in earnest. Gillie has some sordid happenings in her past and since she's nothing if not honest, eventually confesses all to Damon. For Damon's part, he's the best of the best of the heroes in this series of books. The real deal, not a rake - yes, an experienced man but we don't have all his debauched memories of which women he bedded continually regurgitating out of his brain, nor do we have an evil plotting past lover or mistress coming out of the woodwork. In this case, it may not have mattered because Gillie could have handled whatever was thrown at her. She's probably one of the most fascinating heroines I've had the pleasure to read about in a few months at least.
There are some complications in that Gillie has always believed herself to be in love with another man, the Earl of Drummond, although she absolutely knew he was way above her in every single way. When he returns from the Continent, although their previous relationship has been mentor to student, he begins to see Gillie in a much different light which brings confusion to Gillie who's still in the process of the metamorphosis of turning from a girl into a woman. I just finished this book and have quite a sense of satisfaction. I highly recommend it as one of Layton's best that I've read so far and without some of the darkness such as you will find in her most famous book - "The Duke's Wager" for example.
The erstwhile street urchin has made good and become a feisty lady. Who better to pursue her than Damon Ryder, the Season's most eligible bachelor? But there are two other suitors hovering in the wings. Who will Gilly choose? Will her past get in the way of true love?
Edith Layton in the tradition of classic regency romance writers such as Georgette Heyer has succeeded where others have failed, in producing a sequel that stands on its own merit. Again the characters are well drawn, and given during the course of the book space to develop and reveal the many facets that make a person whole. These are definitely no cardboard cutouts, but characters that you can identify with. A spellbinding story.
Well done. I can't wait to read her next book!
At a ball, he observes Gillian Giles beat up notorious rake Lord Dearborne in the nearby gardens. Dearborne claims to his peers that he interceded when Damon made illicit advances on Gilly, a ward of the dangerous Viscount Sinclair. Damon protects Gilly's protection by claiming to be her fiancé. As he escorts Gilly about the town, he falls in love. However, Gilly believes that her common blood is not good enough for an aristocrat. Another problem is that she still loves somebody else.
Regency fans that choose an Edith Layton novel know they are in for an entertaining tale. Ms. Layton's latest novel THE CHOICE is a wonderful sequel to the poignant THE CAD. The story line is intriguing as Gilly represents a different type of lady then normally graces a historical romance. Damon is a warm hunk, who will garner much accolades and wishful desires by readers. Ms. Layton scores big time with a winning novel.
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