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Determined battles with Stubborn
on 17 April 2003
A sequel to ‘A Dangerous Love’, ‘A Notorious Love’ and ‘After the Abduction’, this book can be read without being familiar with the earlier books. It features Morgan Pryce (the last being only one of his names/identities), who was briefly met earlier in ‘After the Abduction’. Juliet and Sebastian from that book are also in this, but the plot of the earlier book is not extensively referred to.
Morgan has had a difficult upbringing, and the only peace he can recall is the structured life in the navy. Nevertheless he has been persuaded to pose as a fence in Spitalfields, an area rife with pickpockets and thieves, in order to catch a villain. An area where the Home for pickpockets financed by the efforts of Lady Clara Stanbourne is located. Lady Clara is horrified by the appearance of a fence so close to her Home for pickpockets – his ‘shop’ representing temptation for her young charges. And even more horrified to realise she feels a strong attraction to the man she perceives as being a criminal and rogue of the first order. Clara sets out to do all that she can to rid herself of the temptation he represents. And, contrary to Morgan’s first impression of her, all that she can is quite some considerable amount.
Morgan and Clara seem very real to me - fleshed out and well constructed as characters. They don’t instantly know all about each other, and even three quarters of the way into the book are still discovering both each other and themselves. They each make assumptions about the other that experience later reveals to be incorrect – just as first impressions can be mistaken in life. Clara is no simpering miss, and Morgan is no male to be manipulated by charm and wiles. Both have definite minds of their own, ideas of right and wrong that they are willing to defend, and both are just a little bit outside the ‘norm’ for their station. While being very different from each other, both ultimately have the same needs. When told with Jeffries usual skill, this makes for a tale of two people who seem all wrong for each other finding out how very well they fit. Not without some struggle along the way, but that makes the end result all the more worth while.