Dear Ms. Moore,
Having enjoyed one of your medieval Harlequin books a few years ago, I decided to take a chance on this late Regency era story when I read the blurb and discovered the heroine is French. I’m still looking for books featuring French heroes but at least this one wouldn’t have a simpering English miss.
Juliette Bergerine is no shrinking violet. She’s made her own way to a foreign, and until recently, enemy country in search of her last living relative. She’s found a job, is supporting herself, even if she has to live almost in the slums, and is practical enough to think about ignoring the single man being menaced by four thugs until she hears him call out in French. That she can’t ignore. After all, one must stick up for a fellow countryman while in London. And so, practical again, she uses what she has, which is her week’s supply of food to pelt them from her window.
I’d be miffed too if I’d risked my life and used up all my potatoes to try to help a man who turns out 1) not to be French 2) be miserly with his thanks and 3) orders me around. It’s all fine for Sir Douglas Drury to tell her to go to his friend’s house and that said friend will pay the hackney fair but Juliette the poor seamstress knows chances are good she’ll get stuck with the bill. Only to her surprise, Lord Bromwell is where Drury says he’ll be, comes immediately to his friend’s aid and pays the fair.
I can understand Juliette’s amazement that the haughty man seems to have a friend and the change in him once Bromwell arrives. Not that Drury treats her any better….but he does insist on paying her for her trouble. I like that when his enemies track her down, she has enough common sense to remember where his lodgings would be and head there for help. He got her into this mess so he can damn well protect her now.
Drury has been given concrete reasons to dislike the French though I like that you don’t let him wallow in angst over having been captured and tortured for information. He also is decent enough to realize that he owes Juliette protection for having got her involved and also sees to her reputation by claiming her as a cousin and lodging the both of them at Buggy Bromwell’s father’s townhouse. As Buggy tells her, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get people to believe it. “Just scowl a lot and don’t talk very much.”
After that, things do drag a bit until Juliette announces her theory that an old lover is after Drury which of course, being a man, he denies. I thought that she would have had more trouble fitting into his higher London society since she’s not an aristocrat but you skim over this issue beyond a bare mention here or there. Juliette also argues about things then backs down when she’s got Drury’s goat – such as when she suddenly demands to know what type of woman he prefers to bed or is angry that he and Buggy settle where she is to stay without asking her.
Once she’s got Drury to agree to them going out in public to act as bait for his enemies, things pick up again. Though events took a turn for the melodramatic at the climax I thought you tied most of the plot strings together nicely. I also like that both Juliette and Drury are willing to take a chance on their feelings for each other and that they didn’t stalk off into misunderstanding territory. And Drury has the strength of character to actually apologize for his initial treatment of Juliette! Now how often does that happen with our romance heroes? These two will always remember what almost came between them but you showed us how they fell in love and I could finish the book thinking they have what it takes to hold on to their HEA.
I think this is more a romance Regency world instead of a “stick to the rules we’ve come to accept as realistic” Regency world. I have my doubts that a husband would proudly announce his wife’s pregnancy even if only to his best friends or that Juliette would publicly insult the patronesses of Almacks even if it was emotionally satisfying to watch her do it.
It’s obvious that this is part of a series and after having visited your website, I’m glad to see what books I need to go back and search for and that Buggy (love that nickname) will have his own story next year. I hope he finds a woman who loves spiders as much as he does. And that Juliette can get over English cooking. B-