Christian English is in the middle of the nightmare again. As he wakes up in a cold sweat, he is more than thankful for his good friend Gideon Harwood. Gideon saved his life when he brought him back from India. And now, he's living in a cottage on Gideon's estate, Critchley Manor. His body has healed from the tortures inflicted on him while a slave in India, but his mind hasn't. He lost his memory and has no idea about his past. He does know that he's in love with Bethany, Gideon's sister.
Bethany is helping her sister-in-law Julia with the decorations for the Christmas festivities. Julia is still somewhat surprised that Bethany managed to talk Christian into putting in an appearance at the party. During the party, one of the older guests recognizes Christian. It turns out he's the Marquess of Northwick and extremely rich and eligible. Bethany knows she has lost Christian now for sure. Even though Bethany loves Christian with everything in her, she knows he will need a bride acceptable to the ton and she definitely isn't. Gideon was
in India when their parents died and in order to save herself and Bliss from the rookery they were in, Bethany was forced to become the mistress of a Noble. When she became pregnant, the Noble cast Bethany out. Her child was born dead. Gideon put it about that Bethany was the widow of a sea captain to save her reputation, but Bethany knows she will never
be an acceptable bride for a Marquess.
This is a wonderfully written Regency, filled with all the requirements: the beautiful clothing, the visiting and the ton. There is also danger as it becomes clear that someone is trying to harm Christian. There is also the heart wrenching decision Bethany must make: does she love Christian enough to be willing to endure the disapproval of the ton; the gossiping about her past and the cut direct? This story delivers on everything it promises, right down to the heartfelt sigh at the ending. I highly recommend this one to all lovers of Regency stories.
Chere Gruver, December 2003
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