Into the Lion's Heart
By: Beth Trissel
As the French Revolution rages, the English nobility offer sanctuary to many a refugee. Captain Dalton Evans arrives in Dover to meet a distant cousin, expecting to see a spoiled aristocrat. Instead, he's conquered by the simplicity of his new charge. And his best friend Thomas Archer isn't immune to her artless charm, either.
Cecile Beaumont didn't choose to travel across the Channel. And she certainly didn't expect that impersonating her own mistress would introduce her to a most mesmerizing man. Now she must play out the masquerade, or risk life, freedom – and her heart.
After reading just the first few pages of this novelette, the description, dialogue and word usage stood at out as written by someone highly skilled in writing historical fiction. The prose easily puts you right into England in the year 1789.
Captain Dalton Evans begrudgingly accepts the task of taking in the sophisticated aristocrat Sophie Devereux who is supposed to be fleeing from France. Instead, Cecile, a servant comes in her place pretending to be Sophie. I liked how Dalton realized from the beginning that Cecile was an imposter. With his military background, it made sense he wasn’t easily fooled. This made for a strong story. Although the captain is frustrated with Cecile’s deception, the adventurous side of him can’t help but becoming attracted to her. In fact, he is soon obsessed. He has to know why she came, but also fears she will end up in jail and wants to protect her.
The characterization in this story is excellent. You have Captain Dalton Evans, a somewhat moody former military man who deep down has a soft heart. He’s been in battles with the French, so what does he find himself doing, but falling in love with a French woman.
The imposter is Cecile - a servant trying to pull off being an aristocrat. She does this to help the real Sophie and tries hard, but fumbles through this completely unprepared. The reason she is doing this is well explained. I liked her for her innocence, a desire to help Sophie and her inexperience. These are same reasons Dalton loves her, even though he doesn’t want to admit it.
Then his rival and “friend” Tom Archer – skillfully cast as a contrast to Dalton who is easy going, happier, and more of a ladies’ man. Yet, he’s also obnoxious. While trying to maintain their dignity, Dalton and Tom fight over her. But they also want to find out the truth. So it’s one big page-turning teaser that made the book hard to put down. If you enjoy a romantic escape, this is just the thing. Highly recommended.
The Wild Rose Press
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