By Cathy Maxwell
Abigail Montross is in search of Freddie, the man she fancies herself
in love with. She walks into a room and sees a man standing in front
of a mirror, a pistol pointed at his head. She runs over, jumps
on him and they fall to the floor behind a settee. As they start
to discuss what just transpired, they hear a man's voice calling
Abby's name. She looks down and realizes that the man she has just
rescued is Andres, the Baron de Vasconia. Andres looks at her and
puts his fingers to his lips to let her know that he will be silent.
She stands up and confronts Freddie. She tells him that she wants
him to elope with her. She has an inheritance that she will receive
when she weds. Freddie tells Abby that his father doesn't approve
of her; he will be announcing his betrothal to Abby's cousin, Corrine,
tonight at the ball.
that the Baron is in the room, she pleads with Freddie to change
his mind. He refuses. Andres has decided that Freddie is a cad.
Andres, recently jilted, knows the pain that Abby is feeling and
makes up his mind to rescue her. He stands up and informs Freddie
that he is taking Abbyout to the ballroom to dance. Abby, not knowing
what to say, goes with him, leaving Freddie shocked and trying to
talk to the Baron about the way he ties his neck cloth.
they reach the ballroom, Abby tries to recover. Once they start
to dance, they both begin to relax and have a good time. Once the
dance is over, a voice from behind begins to attack the Baron. It
is Lady Dobbins. She and the Baron had an affair until he recently
ended it. Lady Dobbins rails against the Baron and then turns her
cruel words to Abby. Abby is in complete shock and shame. Not knowing
what else to do, Abby slaps the Baron, runs off to find her parents
and begs to go home.
their way, Abby's father informs her that he has found a possible
husband for her -- a widower with 13 children, who also happens
to be one of the Lords of the Treasury. She’s shocked; how
can her father do this to her? She'll talk to her mother alone and
ask her to help change her father's mind.
next day, several women show up for a visit. In the midst of all
the questions about the event’s of last night, she turns to
see the Baron standing in the doorway. All chatter stops, and all
eyes fall on him. He asks to have a word with her in private, and
they go out into the garden and sit on a bench, as the women left
in the sitting room watch them. Andres proposes to Abby but tells
her the marriage will be more like a business deal between the two
of them. He needs her inheritance to start his stables and to raise
a line of horses from the stock his father had started. Abby knows
she needs a way to escape her father constantly trying to marry
her off to some man he feels is a good match, but she has no desire
to marry. She agrees but insists they elope because her father will
never approve. He agrees with her. So now, the adventure begins.
meets Andres at the agreed spot and time. However, just after she
arrived, her father shows up. The chase is on. They run out the
back door, get into the waiting phaeton, race through the streets
of London, and make it out of town. They marry, spending the night
to consummate the marriage so her father can't have it undone. The
next morning, as they make their way downstairs for breakfast, they
see Abby's father sitting at the table. He informs them that Abby
will not get her inheritance for two more years and that she will
not be able to ask him or her mother for help. There will be no
dowry. Abby is in total shock. Andres stands up, takes his wife's
hand, informs her father that they will be just fine and leads her
out the door. He will take care of his wife. The question is how?
He is almost out of funds.
Maxwell has done a wonderful job with this story. It shows what
a newly wed couple with almost nothing can do when they work together
to build a dream. Abby and Andres learn how to make sacrifices and
how to support each other to make things work and come together.
They find that in spite of themselves, their marriage is more than
just a business arrangement. Their hearts have other plans. Because
they've both been jilted, neither is ready to open their hearts
completely allowing them total trust of each other. Abby finds she
is made of stronger stuff than she thought, and Andres finds out
what kind of man he really wants to be by watching his wife and
admiring her strength.
is the first Cathy Maxwell book for me. She brings everything to
life and makes you feel like part of the story. I didn't even put
the book down when sitting at the dinner table. (Believe me, that
didn't make me very popular.) It's a good lesson in how couples
should work together. During the chase through London, I felt like
I was in the carriage with Abby and Andres. Maxwell does a great
job of letting you feel the emotions of the characters. Some things
you see coming, and some you don't. This book will not disappoint
you. I can't wait to read more of Maxwell. Two thumbs up.
Avon Books /HarperCollins Publishers
November 30, 2010
Historical Romance / London, October 1810