Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Duke of Strathmore #5
Publication Date: 2/1/18
Gibraltar 1817 – ‘Hattie Wright sucked in a deep breath before slowly letting the air back out. The long drop over the side of the ship to the water below was a heart-rending distance.’ Thus begins our adventure in this well written and well-plotted novel. This is the first time I’ve read anything by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While this book is part of a series, I felt it could easily be read as a stand-alone. I liked that almost the entire cast of characters were non-titled.
Up until a couple of years ago, Hattie led a happy, privileged life with loving parents and a caring, supportive brother. Then her parents had a religious conversion to a much more zealous sect of the church. They also seemed to be deeply under the influence of Reverend Peter Brown. Their zealotry caused a rift with Hattie’s brother and they became totally estranged. To make matters even worse, they betrothed Hattie to Reverend Brown. Her parents renounced everything and they were all headed – against Hattie’s will – to be missionaries in Africa. Hattie knew she had to escape and the only way she could see to do it was to jump overboard while the ship was near enough to Gibraltar for her to swim to shore. It seems that the normally compliant Hattie had grown a spine.
William Saunders, a former spy for the crown, is a lonely widower on his way home to England. He longed to return to England and his large, loving, supportive family, but he knew he was going to miss the warm weather of the continent. He was treating himself to a farewell tour of the now peaceful cities of lower France and Spain before he returned home. Thus, he was sitting on the beach when he noticed a ship far out in the water and – what was that – there was someone, a female, who just went overboard! He had to save her!
Will and Hattie are attracted to each other, but each has secrets – he shares his – she doesn’t. I love that she outmaneuvers him at every turn. The vaunted spy outdone by the amateur – that is good. Once they reach England, she manages to outsmart him and escape. He has to find her and make her his wife – can he? Will she have him? What made her so desperate to run away from him? What is she hiding? What danger does she face? All questions that can be answered when you read the book. So happy reading!
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