LOVE AND WAR by MAGGI ANDERSEN

BLURB:

Selena couldn’t accuse him of paying her Spanish coin! Gyles Devereux made it clear he had no wish to marry at all but was constrained by his circumstances. She could not be expected to keep refusing Lord Devereux, she thought crossly. She was only flesh and blood after all. What woman on earth could resist the pleas of a man such as Devereux?

RHFL Classifications:

Historical Romance (Novella)

Era: Regency/Napoleonic

Heat Level:2

Review rating: 4 Stars

REVIEW BY EMERY:

As a fellow writer of historical romance novellas, I always have a mixed reaction when people say they wish one of my stories had been longer, but now I understand because that’s precisely how I felt with this one.  Although there is much more story here than one would expect, given the length, I still couldn’t help wanting more of it!

The heroine, Selena, is secretly in love with Gyles Devereux, a man whose offer of marriage she has refused several times because she knows her feelings are unrequited.  Lord Devereux has returned from Wellington’s army for fear his line will die out if he falls in battle, and is in dire need of money to repair his ruined estates. He confesses his reasons for marriage upfront in a most unromantic fashion and also professes to Selena that he will undoubtedly make a poor husband, yet Selena weighs his renewed offer with the fact that she is tired of living with her sister’s family, and at least will have a home of her own and a title to boot if she accepts him. She also harbors a secret hope that in time he may return her feelings.  She decides to accept his offer, the banns are called and the wedding proceeds with all the traditional ritual, with the bride and groom then departing for a London honeymoon.

**SPOILER ALERT**

On their way from bath to London, they stop overnight at an Inn. While in her chamber Selena awaits her new husband with excitement and trepidation about their wedding night…. but she falls asleep only to learn that Gyles has disappeared without a word. Furious about her abandonment but refusing to return to her sister, Selena commands the coachman to take her to Lord Devereux’s estate where she finds all in a shambles of neglect. From this point Selena and Devereux’s lives intersect between prolonged intervals, with their marriage remaining unconsummated while the sexual tension continues to coil. I hate plot spoilers of which I am already guilty, so I won’t say more about precisely what kept them apart, but suffice to say from the moment he disappeared I was well and truly hooked. **END OF SPOILER**

I thoroughly enjoyed this novella with its mixture of romance and intrigue. I just wish it had been longer so that I could know more about the characters’ history which could only be alluded to, given the abbreviated format. I wanted to know more about Selena and Devereux to better understand how she actually fell in love with him before their marriage  as I have a hard time believing it wasn’t just infatuation given how he treated her. I also love espionage stories and would love to have seen this aspect further developed with more detail of Devereux’s cover activities. Nevertheless, this was a highly engaging story and a recommended read.

Best of all it’s only $.99 on Amazon!
post-script: I am eagerly looking forward to Ms. Anderson’s US release of A BARON IN HER BED!

(Available now in the UK)

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