Publisher and release date: Original copyright 1993, Harlequin Books: Reissued June 2011, Self Published
While traveling to her first post as a governess, Helen Denville is drawn into an adventure with the infamous gamester Mr. Darcy. While helping him recover an item that is of great value, she loses her heart to him. Once he recovers that item, will he offer his heart to her?
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 5 stars
Review by Lady Blue
Helen Denville’s reduced circumstances have forced her to earn her own living or accept the charity of relatives. She chooses to accept a position as governess. Before arriving at her new post, she plans to stop for a visit with her old governess. Weary and bleary eyed from traveling on the public stagecoach, she mistakenly takes a similar looking bag as her own as she transfers coaches. As she is walking, she is accosted and forced to accompany a man, who plans to take her to his master. He assumes her identity to be someone else because of the bag she is carrying.
The man who ordered her kidnapping (although that is perhaps too drastic a word) is none other than Richard Darcy, a notorious gamester. He has been pursuing the person who had possession of the bag, and believes it contains vital evidence that will rectify a great wrong that has been done to him. During this encounter, Helen has maintained her calm, gently assuring Mr. Darcy that he has made a mistake. He comes to realize that she is correct, and he has the wrong person. Despite having his servant force her to see him, he has treated her with courtesy, and has acted a gentleman.
As they begin to converse, Helen realizes he is truly a gentleman by birth, and he realizes she is a lady who has encountered hard times. She agrees to let him examine the bag, but he can’t find what he is looking for, as it’s somehow concealed. He devises a plan to flush out the bag’s owner. He offers Helen a large sum if she will accompany him and help with the plot. At first, she refuses, but she is intrigued, and not by the money. She finally agrees, and they set off on their adventure. Fate dictates that they reside temporarily at an inn, and they agree that they should pose as a married couple to avoid gossip. Obviously, this throws them into close proximity, and we get to witness their growing regard for each other.
I found myself delighted by this book. It is a short book, as most regencies were from that time, but it manages to fully flesh out the two lead characters. You know that Mr. Darcy is honorable, and still manages to be kind, despite the great wrong that was done to him. Helen never feels sorry for herself, or bemoans her lot in life. She is intelligent and upfront, without being testy, the kind of heroine I love. This was my first book by this author, and it was totally enjoyable. The story flows nicely and reads very quickly. Be warned, though, that if you like extra spice, you won’t find it here. I’m betting that you won’t even miss it. Highly recommended for a light, feel-good read.
About the author
Julie Tetel Andresen has penned more than 20 books during her career, covering everything from historical romance and contemporary fiction to paranormal tales and her academic publications as a specialist in linguistics.
Her seemingly disparate writing activities – fiction, non-fiction and essays in foreign languages – all arise from a unified sense of her writing self. As a professional linguist, she loves language, while as a romance writer she loves the language of love; and when learning a foreign language, she loves nothing more than exploring the limits of her ability to express herself in that language on paper.
Her writing activities have always been entwined temporally. She wrote her first historical My Lord Roland while writing her PhD dissertation Linguistic Crossroads of the Eighteenth Century, and all her early academic articles were written mostly in French. She firmly believes that one type of writing strengthens the others. Her historical novels have honed her craft of plotting and sub-plotting, while her professional study of language makes her sensitive to the vocabulary and rhythms of speech in other places and time periods. Andresen grew up in Glenview, Illinois. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Duke University and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has taught at Duke University for the past 20 years where she specializes in linguistics.