Persuasion by Brenda Joyce

PUBLISHER AND RELEASE DATE: Harlequin HQN; 31 July 2012

PUBLISHER’S BLURB:

Betrayal Tore Them Apart
Amelia Greystone was deeply in love when the Earl of St. Just abruptly ended his courtship and left Cornwall ten years earlier. So she is stunned when Simon returns, recently widowed. Now she must forget the past they shared and his betrayal and console him as any neighbour would. Simon has changed—he is dark and haunted now—but he can still make her reel with a single look. When he offers her the position of housekeeper, Amelia knows she must refuse. But for the sake of his children, she throws all caution to the wind…

Passion Will Reunite Them
A British spy, Simon Grenville is now playing both sides in a time of war, his goal to keep his sons safe. Yet when he is brought face-to-face with the woman he once loved, he realizes nothing about his feelings or Amelia has changed—if anything, they are even stronger. Still, Simon knows he must stay away from Amelia; his life is too dangerous now. But sometimes passion is too strong to be denied…

RHFL Classification Georgian (and Revolutionary France), Heat level 1

REVIEW RATING : 3 stars

Review by Caz

The story begins in 1794 with the “Reign of Terror” that followed the storming of the Bastille in full flow, and Simon Grenville languishing in prison, awaiting execution.  He gains his freedom by making a terrible bargain, but he knows it’s the only thing he can do to buy himself some time and to protect the lives of his children.

The opening scenes are detailed and atmospheric – you can almost smell the reek of the prison, and the author is clearly knowledgeable about the terrible extremes wreaked on the French aristocracy by the fanatic Robespierre and his Comité. I’m not normally one for “spy” novels, but this one is really about the consequences of the hero’s actions, his battle with his inner demons and the lengths to which he will go in order to protect those he loves.

The heroine, Amelia, is no young miss – she is twenty-six and has been running her family’s household for well over ten years.  She’s capable and not afraid of speaking her mind, but as the book progressed, I found myself getting a bit impatient with her goodness and self-sacrifice; and of her continual rebuttal of Simon’s repeated insistence that she shouldn’t think highly of him.  And then there are her continual attempts to get him to tell her what’s going on when he’s trying to protect her.  Of course, as a woman in love, and as someone concerned for the welfare of both him and his children, I can understand her wanting to know.  But the only strategy she seems able to adopt is to keep badgering him about it, which only increases his determination not to involve her!  Perhaps this is meant to show us that Amelia is “feisty” – but after the first couple of times, I began to understand why Simon wouldn’t answer her, and to think she needed to change her tactics.  But this is balanced out by her absolute devotion to Simon’s family and the huge difference she makes to the lives of his motherless children.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t over-enamoured with the heroine, I nonetheless enjoyed the book.  It was well-written, had a bucket-load of romantic tension and a good eye for period detail.  There was plenty of background about the state of France and how that was affecting Britain and the rest of Europe – the corruption of the new regime, the fury of the mob, the betrayals and espionage – but not so much that it slowed down the story.

During the course of the book, we meet Amelia’s sister Julianne, who is now the Countess of Bedford.  On checking Amazon, I see that she was the heroine of Seduction, and it looks as though there is another book featuring another of the Greystones coming out towards the end of this year.

With thanks to Harlequin and NetGalley, for providing an ARC.

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