Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Review: Penelope Williamson’s HEARTS BEGUILED - Pre French Revolution Romance - Superb!!

I always know when I pick up an historical romance by Penelope Williamson that I'm going to have an adventure, feel my heart break at some point and be left with a belief that for some at least, true love can be found, even if it's costly. This one is no different. Her attention to historic detail, her wonderful ability to paint vivid word pictures and her ability to make you live through the lives of her characters are gifts only rarely found in romance fiction.

This story takes place in France, in Paris and its environs, at the dawn of the French Revolution in the 1780s. It's the story of Gabrielle who though poor, is endowed with noble blood and beauty all men admire. At the tender age of 16, she loses her young husband and her mother on the same day. Pregnant and alone, she runs from her husband's father the duc de Nevers who would take her child and banish her to a cloister--or, should she not want that, prison. She escapes from him and his lackey, a creepy lawyer named Louvois, and manages to barely scrape out a living until she is rescued from life in the slums of Paris by a kind pawnshop owner who becomes a father of sorts to her. Through her work for him, she meets the dashing and mysterious Maximilian de Saint-Just, a brilliant scientist and bastard son of the comte de Saint-Just. Max has turned his apartment into a science lab and is blowing things up as he seeks to discover a fuel for his hot air balloon. In addition to all that, Max has devoted his life to casting dirt on his father's name and is involved in spying for the cabal, an underground network of smugglers out for their own profit.

When Max meets and falls in love with Gabrielle, he wants to be a different man. They will face many challenges and both hide secrets that will tear at their love--all the while the country is plunging into revolution and Max is uncovering new scientific discoveries. There is plenty of intrigue and plots of evildoers here to hold your interest. It's a riveting tale, an early Steampunk if you will, that will sweep you away to 18th century France--an important time in history. It's another Penelope Williamson keeper!

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