After her father was hanged for treason for conspiring to assassinate the King of England during the French Revolution, Cassandra Merlin had no prospects for her future. Penniless, her only family an aunt who did not want her, when Cass was presented the opportunity to not only prove her loyalty to England but also to have a means of supporting herself, she could not refuse.
Her task was to “befriend” a man believed to have headed up the assassination attempt and find out if his organization is still planning on killing the King. Cassandra’s partner in the espionage was Philip Riordan, a man who believed the rumors he had heard about Cass’s wild reputation but who was nevertheless undeniably attracted to her. Their assignment threw them together often and before long they were both fighting an attraction that neither could afford to act upon.
Riordan, a member of the House of Commons, had big plans for his future and his wife already picked out, a lady of intelligence and of upstanding status. Becoming involved with Cass, being a traitor’s daughter and known to be somewhat “loose”, was not going to help further his plans. Regardless, he not only lusts after her, but also has begun to see her for the woman she really is – and that is far different than the picture that has been painted from the tales of her reckless youth.
With a father who shipped her off to school soon after her mother died and who rarely spend any time with her, Cass wanted to be loved more than anything. She craved acceptance and would do anything for it – including endangering her life. Her love-starved childhood also meant that Cass had a hard time believing that she was worthy of Philip’s affections, which plays a strong role in a misunderstanding that nearly destroys their fragile relationship.
Ms. Gaffney did an excellent job of showing the reader how Cass and Philip fell in love and they actually had meaningful conversations before falling into bed with each other! It was refreshing to see that they had more than a physical attraction for each other and it was easy to believe that their love would stand the test of time. Not to say that their sexual relationship was left in the background – Cass and Philip burned up the pages from their very first meeting!
I was a bit disappointed over an episode of a prolonged misunderstanding that seemingly could have been cleared up much sooner, but that dragged on and on. Of course, this always happens just when the couple are on the verge of finding happiness, so it seems that much more exasperating! However, understanding Cass’s background and the reasons behind her actions did make it understandable and the reunion between the lovers was touching and made up for any frustration caused.
With Fortune’s Lady, Patricia Gaffney has firmly cemented her position as one of my favorite authors! Every novel I have had the pleasure of reading by her has been excellent and Fortune’s Lady is no exception.