I was intrigued by this book when I discovered that it would tell the story of Vangie and Ian from Highlander’s Hope. They were secondary characters at the time, but the hints about their story were tantalizing to say the least. This story was a prequel in ways to Highlander’s Hope as it introduced the players in the other story and some scenes in Viscount’s Vow filled in details for that one. Even though this one chronologically comes first, in a pinch the order doesn’t matter and they could stand a lone. My recommendation though after reading them both is to read this one first so people and references to the past make sense. Okay with that in mind…
Ian should be in mourning for his brother and father, but instead he is attending one of the numerous London balls on a mission of revenge. He plans to find the woman responsible for his brother and father’s deaths who has also bewitched away his sister’s beau. Ian is in a foul temper and while he is surprised by the appearance and demeanor of the femme fatale, Evangeline Caruthers, it does not deter him.
Vangie hates participating in society, but she wishes to support her cousin and dearest friend, Yvette during her season. Yvette’s family has money and Vangie is the half-gypsy poor relation so she must be grateful for every little crumb. Not that Yvette or her parents make her feel that way on purpose. This night is as dreary as the others until the human version of a brooding tiger gets her in his sights. Vangie is both frightened and thrilled when she is introduced to Ian.
Ian has Evangeline in his grasp and he plans to do something to ruin her, but then fate intervenes and his wish is granted just not the way he imagines for now through a series of circumstances she is his wife. But that’s not the worst kick to his plans. The worst is discovering that he might have been utterly wrong all along about Evangeline Caruthers.
My general thoughts on the story are simple. I got into the story completely from the very beginning. I was totally vested in finding out what would happen between Ian and Vangie.
The characters were so well-written and enjoyable. I loved them both and my heart ached for them having the benefit of the narrative switching back and forth between their points of view. Things were set in motion however inadvertently that had to play out in the relationship between Ian and Vangie. I applaud Ms. Cameron for letting this couple feel the results of the lies that led to Ian’s actions and thus Ian’s lie-fueled actions even while I just wanted them to finally catch a break and bit of happiness. As the reader, I was able to parse out what really must have led to the situation the two are in and I was right about the culprit. And the villain in all this, oh boy was this person a piece of work.
Now as to the plot and pacing, this was a tight well-written plot that engaged me until almost half way. I still enjoyed the latter half of the story, but my credulity was strained by the character and antics of the villain. Some of this person’s plottings gave a strong wink at gothic horror stuff. Again, not that this is awful, just that it made me blink after the different feel of the beginning of the story. The jaunt to the third setting- the gypsy camp- was sheer delight. I loved the backdrop, characters and background story taking place there.
So all in all this was a wonderful historical romance and can stand up there with the best in this genre. The romance leans to the middle between sweet and spicy. Those who enjoy a traditional style historical romance with a dash of spice should give this one a try.
My thanks to the author for gifting me my copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.