Monday, November 28, 2016
Review: Moriah Densley’s SONG FOR SOPHIA – A Heroine on the Run and a Hero Fighting His Ghosts Make for an Unusual Victorian
Set in 1867, this is the story of Lady Anne-Sophia Duncombe, a Viscount’s daughter on the run from her father who beat her because she refused to marry the man he selected. She manages to get a job as a maid in the home of Wilhelm Montegue, the Earl of Devon, who everyone thinks is mad. A war hero haunted by scandal, he is brilliant: a musician who composes music in his head; a mind for figures; literate in multiple languages; and can recite from the literature he’s read. (The author tells us later he’s an “autistic savant”.)
Having been a spy, Wilhelm instantly sees through Sophia’s disguise and, when he realizes how bright she is and speaks as many languages as he does, and how attractive he finds her, he tells his aunt “I mean to have her.”
It took me some time to get used to the author’s writing style but once I did, I enjoyed the story and the banter between Wilhelm and Sophie. It seems they are well matched, both geniuses and both strikingly attractive, both exceptionally well read. Seriously, it’s a bit unbelievable, but if you can get over that, the story entertains and the writing is excellent.
Wilhelm makes a bargain with Sophia: he will protect her from the man she is fleeing if she will pretend to be his mistress, even his wife, as the occasion requires. I suspected he was just getting her used to the idea. Since he makes no demands other than the pretense, she agrees.
The story is intriguing and I couldn’t help become enamored with Wilhelm. Who wouldn’t want a handsome man, the son of a prince, with noble motives and unlimited wealth meaning you only good? When Sophia is attacked by one of their “guests” sent by her, Wilhelm sweeps her, his aunt and his three young nieces, who have come to live with them, to Cornwall. (It’s the only location change in the story.)
At times the phrasing seemed more modern than the Victorian era. But still very clever. (The author is a music teacher and it shows.) One thing to note: This is not a light romance as there is graphic violence (Wilhelm is, after all, a former assassin and he does kill several men in the course of the story). It’s only 290 pages but it felt much longer. I suspect it’s because almost all the scenes were of Sophia and Wilhelm together.
I liked the story well enough to read another by this author.
The King of Threadneedle Street is the next book in the Rougemont series.