Having refused the man her parents chose for her, Miriam Jacobson finds herself smuggling gold across Napoleon’s France to Wellington in Spain, accompanied by two attractive young men, both of whom detest her—and each other. High adventure and romance in the best Regency tradition.
Reviewer rating: 4 stars
Review by Caz
This was the first time I’ve read a book by Carola Dunn, and it certainly won’t be the last. It’s a fabulous traditional Regency, featuring a large dollop of history alongside the romance.
We first meet the eponymous Miss Jacobson (Miriam) at the age of eighteen on the day she is to meet the young man her parents – and the matchmaker – have chosen for her to marry, but on glimpsing the rather gawky youth selected, she immediately rejects him rather cruelly. Instead, she announces her decision to accompany her uncle – a doctor – on his upcoming travels to Europe.
This is in 1802, and shortly afterwards travel between England and the Continent becomes difficult and dangerous, and Miriam is unable to return home.
We meet her again some nine years later when, after the death of her uncle, she decides to make the attempt to get back to England. Her quest for transport leads her to a meeting with Jakob Rothschild, who recruits her to assist two couriers – Isaac Cohen and Felix, Viscount Roworth – who are to smuggle badly needed gold through France and into Spain and into the coffers of the Duke of Wellington.
In return for her assistance, Rothschild guarantees to arrange Miriam’s passage home, and she agrees.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their journey. Felix and Isaac are initially very hostile towards each other. In the early stages, Felix is often insulting and makes many derogatory remarks about Jews, which are quite hard to read in this day and age, although I imagine his attitude is typical of the men of his time.
The relationships between Miriam and the men are very well-drawn, and I especially enjoyed reading about Felix’s progress from bigotry to tolerance and sympathy. He is soon won over by Isaac’s loyalty and Miriam’s resourcefulness, and the three of them become fast friends.
All does not go smoothly however, as in the course of their journey, the men are imprisoned, they are pursued and Felix is badly injured meaning that Isaac has to continue alone. Also serving to complicate matters is the fact that both the men are falling for Miriam and she for them. Felix – tall, strong, blond and blue-eyed – is the embodiment of her girlish dreams, yet Isaac (who she now knows to be the young man she rejected all those years ago) has changed much from the weedy scholar she first met, and has grown into a handsome and compassionate man – and Miriam is torn between them.