When Henry De Vere wakes up naked in bed with his longtime friend Claudia Baxter, it is his fondest dream and his worst nightmare come true. Could he truly have compromised one of his dearest friends without even the benefit of remembering it? Plagued by somnambulism his whole life, Henry fears his baser nature has asserted itself, and insists on doing the honorable thing to marry Claudia.
Claudia’s plan to stage her own ruination and escape marriage to the churlish and elderly Sir Saint had seemed foolproof. She was sure the kindly Henry wouldn’t mind helping her out . . . but somehow she hadn’t counted on him actually proposing.
Their illicit encounter awakens feelings long buried for each. Will this preposterous scheme result in a happier ending than either could have hoped for?
Publisher and Release Date: Crimson Romance, January 2015
Time and Setting: England, 1830s
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Jill
Claudia Baxter and Henry De Vere have been neighbours and friends since childhood. With Claudia now of an age to marry, her father arranges a betrothal to the middle-aged Sir Tuggle. Unwilling to accede to her father’s wishes, Claudia plans her own ruination with the help of the unwitting Henry. When Claudia is discovered in bed with Henry, he proposes to her to save her from disgrace, despite his being unable to remember anything of the past night.
This novella is the second book in the Ms Boyce’s current series, The Honorables. The first title Honor Among Thieves was a rather dark and sobering read. Ms Boyce does a complete 180 here giving readers a fun story which is more of a romantic comedy. Both the hero and heroine are likable, if a bit naïve. Elizabeth Boyce has a very good handle on prose and appropriate values of the era. She shows a versatility with her writing (even within a series) of which not all writers are capable.
I have only a few niggles. Firstly, Henry’s sleepwalking wasn’t entirely explained by the end of the story; and there was very little information or background given about The Honorables – the group of men whose stories make up this series and who were briefly introduced in the earlier novel.
Though I have not read a lot of Elizabeth Boyce’s work, this series is really well-done and impressive.