Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Scarlet Chronicles #1
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Galen’s captivating descriptions paint a picture of Paris during the French Revolution that just sucks you right into the time and place. Breath coming fast, heart pounding, blood racing – you won’t be able to put it down once you start reading.
I’d like to address one thing right from the start. I have read several reviews that complained that the romance wasn’t front and center in this book. I sort of thought so too – at first. Then, I thought about it awhile and realized that there can’t be anything much more romantic than a man braving the horror that was Paris during the revolution – because he wanted to keep a woman safe. Yes, there were other factors involved, but keeping her safe and protected was at the front of everything he did. So, to me the romance was as front and center as the intrigue and danger.
Lady Gabrielle McCullough is a childless widow who is now hounded by some very nasty creditors trying to collect on massive debt left by her gambling husband. She has no money and no way of paying these creditors – one of whom wants to sell her into prostitution to recoup his debt. Gabrielle turns to theft in order to stave them off and she has become a very adept lock picker and thief. When she is approached by the Scarlet Pimpernel to take on a rescue mission in Paris, she decides to do it.
Lord Sedgewick is living a lie and he’s being blackmailed to keep that lie a secret. His blackmailer is a sleazy lady with tentacles everywhere and she wants to know the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel. She tells Ramsey that she’ll turn over all of the incriminating documents to him if he will go to Paris and uncover the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Ramsey feels he doesn’t have a choice because the lives of his family, tenants and the local village depends on him.
Gabrielle and Ramsey are drawn to each other in the backdrop of the intrigue, suspense, danger and ghoulishness of the Reign Of Terror during the French Revolution. They learn to love and trust each other, but that love and trust are hard won because they are both very flawed individuals dealing with extremely stressful times. The descriptions of the streets of Paris, the prison conditions, the mob rule and blood thirst are so captivating that you will shiver with dread of what might come next. How can they survive this ordeal, escape Paris and stay in love? You’ll have to read it to see.
One thing I question is the reason for Gabrielle having to be responsible for her husband’s debt. Her husband was a viscount and he had no sons. So, some other male heir would have inherited the title and the debts along with it rather than the widow. That male heir would also have inherited responsibility for seeing after Gabrielle. Anyway – that didn’t really bother me because the story was so good – but – I did question it!
“I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”