Set in 1706 in England during Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, Far Beyond Rubies begins when William, Baron Kemp, Juliana’s half-brother, claims she and her young sister, Henrietta, are bastards. Spirited Juliana is determined to prove the allegation is false, and that she is the rightful heiress to Riverside, a great estate.
On his way to deliver a letter to William, Gervaise Seymour sees Juliana for the first time on the grounds of her family home. The sight of her draws him back to India. When “her form changed to one he knew intimately—but not in this lifetime,” Gervaise knows he would do everything in his power to protect her.
Although Juliana and Gervaise are attracted to each other, they have not been formally introduced and assume they will never meet again. However, when Juliana flees from home, and is on her way to London, she encounters quixotic Gervaise at an inn. Circumstances force Juliana to accept his kind help. After Juliana’s life becomes irrevocably tangled with his, she discovers all is not as it seems. Yet, she cannot believe ill of him for, despite his exotic background, he behaves with scrupulous propriety, while trying to help her find evidence to prove she and her sister are legitimate.
Publisher and Release Date: MuseItUp Publishing, 19 March 2013
Time and Setting: England 1706
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewer Rating: 5 stars4
Review by Maggi
There’s a wealth of historical detail in this charming and well-written novel by Rosemary Morris. The plot is woven with some skill into the history of Queen Anne’s rein. The heroine, Juliana, is at the mercy of her scurrilous stepbrother, William, the seventh Baron Kemp. He plans to claim her inheritance, Riverside House, and rid himself of her and her sister, Henrietta, claiming them to be illegitimate. He has plans to marry Juliana off to a libertine. With her father dead, Juliana is at his mercy.
The handsome hero, Gervaise Seymour, is one of the most interesting heroes I’ve read in a while. He comes from a broken family, and has personal issues he must resolve. He is returning from India, where he gained a fortune and married an Indian woman. Now a widower, he mourns his lost love. But having come across Juliana who is in need of help, how can he turn his back on her? It is Juliana’s voice, which first attracts him: a melodious voice offering comfort. And despite Gervaise’s intentions, he is soon captured by her looks. But he is ever the gentleman.
Gervaise put a hand on each side of her tiny waist, controlling his fervent desire to hold her close. He avoided looking into her eyes for fear she might read the lusty thoughts in them.
Determined to honor his dead wife, he fights his feelings during their shared adventure, quite convinced he will never marry again. But there’s a hint here, of something mystical between them.
Morris’ knowledge of India enriches this novel, adding spice, while never loading us with unwanted detail. It’s a novel, fresh story, which sets it apart from the more conventional historical romances. Gervaise, a decent and attractive man, has brought Indian customs and food with him to England. His home is decorated in the rich colors of the East and delicious cuisine graces his table. This makes for a fascinating hero and serves to cause a degree of conflict between him and Juliana, who is a strong heroine. She is protective of her younger sister, and while extremely attracted to Gervaise she is reluctant to trust him or indeed any man.
I’m a fan of Rosemary Morris. Her characters always make perfect sense, and again the resolution of this story is quite believable. There are some great secondary characters too, like Monsieur Lorraine, an ‘air merchant who wishes to buy Juliana’s hair.
Overall, I enjoyed the humor and intrigue in Far Beyond Rubies very much.