by Christina Dodd

March 2003
ISBN: 0-06-009263-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Christina Dodd, beloved creator of the Distinguished Academy of Governesses, forsakes her school in this novel to follow the adventures of a daring pair of ladies. Although it’s arguable that Madeline de Lacy might not always deserve the title of “Lady”.

I note with interest that Madeline is said to be a “Duchess” in her own right. While this was historically only the case in one instance, I was pleased to see Ms. Dodd create her own special set of inheritance rules, which, logically and clearly, bypassed the issue of women inheriting a title. This kind of attention to detail marks an excellent writer, and Ms. Dodd qualifies for that description – especially with this taut and sensual tale.

Madeline is bold, stubborn, quite brazen and not in the least bit like a ladies’ companion, so when a set of circumstances forces that role upon her, sparks are bound to fly. Especially as she finds Gabriel Ansell, the Earl of Campion, firmly ensconced in the house to which she accompanies her new “mistress”. Gabriel and Madeline share a history, which includes a broken engagement and a night of boundless passion.

And it’s that passion which flares from these pages, lighting up the story and driving the action through twisted plots and acts of villainous treachery. Gabriel and Madeline are both extraordinarily “alpha” personalities, clashing with a violence that masks the undercurrents of sensual heat flowing between them. And when those currents surface – look out!

Pay attention to this story because the characters are complex and reveal as much through what they don’t say as what they do say! I loved the romance between Gabriel and Madeline, but I also enjoyed the richness of their personalities and their strong characters. For any fan of Christina Dodd this is a must-read, and if you’ve not read any of her works before, you certainly could begin with this one. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the story of Madeline’s companion Eleanor will be out soon.

Reviewed in April 2003 by Celia.

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