To Save a Lady by Patricia Preston

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A DARING MASQUERADE
A move from Paris to New Orleans brings disaster to Elise Plaisance’s predictable life as a lady’s maid. The son of her grief-stricken mistress disappears, and Elise becomes involved in a web of deceit when she turns to a cunning gentleman for help finding the missing boy.

A CAPTAIN BEWITCHED
Captain Jesse Cross has journeyed to New Orleans with General Jackson’s army, but his biggest battle is one of the heart when he falls for a French girl cloaked in mystery. With the city on the brink of war, their romance is born in the darkness of a moonlit courtyard and never meant to last forever.

A FUTURE IMPERILED
Deceived by an adversary and haunted by her tragic past, Elise must risk everything to rescue her mistress’s son before all is lost, and Jesse knows he has to stop her even if it means sacrificing his life to save a lady.

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Publisher and Release Date: River Oaks Press, November 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and setting: 1814, New Orleans, Louisiana
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by Vikki

Elise Plaisance is a young lady’s maid to Madame, a woman who saved her from a horrific experience when she was ten years old. She will do anything for Madame, even if it means staying in New Orleans on the eve of battle. Madame’s fourteen-year-old son has run away, and she has already lost two children and her husband. Elise greatly fears that her mistress will grieve herself to death, so she leaves the plantation and comes to the city to look for the boy.

Captain Jesse Cross is part of General Jackson’s staff and has arrived in New Orleans to defend the city against a British attack. When walking down a street in the French Quarter, he senses someone following him. He wheels around and grabs the cloaked figure and to his astonishment, he discovers it is a woman. He is further astounded when the masked young woman tells him she is his liaison between certain individuals desiring to help his general defeat the British.

They make arrangements to meet in a courtyard on the Rue d’Orleans to pass information. If she either of them have anything to impart, they must tie a red ribbon on the carriageway gate as a signal to meet at midnight. During these brief encounters, Jesse is enthralled by the mysterious Rose and aches to see her face. When she finally unveils herself, by removing her mask and telling him about her mission, he loses his heart, even though he believes he can never claim her as his own.

Can Jesse protect Elise from harm, even against her own reckless behavior to save the young boy, or will he lose her forever?

Ms. Preston has written an emotionally-charged story with unforgettable characters. Elise is an incredibly brave and loyal young woman willing to face any danger to find Madame’s young son, even if it means spying for a greedy creole gentleman. She is fearless and determined, and never allows herself to lose sight of her goal. The author is a true master in clearly revealing the goal, motivation and conflict for her heroine.

Her hero is a chief, willing to endanger his life ‘to save a lady’. He is a true leader of men and as fearless and honorable as Elise. His only fault is his domineering insistence on protecting Elise from harm. I love a well-written chief archetype, and in To Save a Lady, Ms. Preston gives me a chief I can love. His willingness to sacrifice himself to fulfill his promise to Elise made my heart melt for his loyalty to the woman he loves.

The plot is well-drawn and the characters are given many facets to their personalities. The tale is steeped in historical detail, bringing to life what it must have been like in the days leading up to the Battle of New Orleans.

The passion between Elise and Jesse is sensual and deeply emotional. While there is explicit language and description, it is the underlying emotions that carry the love scenes. Ms. Preston’s writing brings us up close and personal with the hero and heroine and had me waiting with batted breath to see how they could ever find their HEA. To Save a Lady is an unforgettable tale of love and sacrifice that grabbed me from the first page and held me in its thrall to the very end and I recommend it most highly.

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