by Donna Kaye

April 2003
ISBN: 1-58608-414-3
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Diana is an actress, but rather naÔve with it. Unlike her fellow players she doesnít hold out for a protector. She finds that finding a job in plague threatened London, when the theatre closes is impossible, but the choosing of Blackstock as her protector unleashes a dangerous chain of events.

When Lord Barry kidnaps Diana from under Blackstockís nose the story looked set for an amusing romp. Sadly instead it took a very unpleasant turn. Lord Barry, who is the hero of the book, rapes Diana. I can find no justification for rape, but his excuse was he didnít know she was still a virgin. But he admits under pressure from Diana, that he probably couldnít have stopped even if she had told him. Iím afraid after that he was no hero to me.

Perhaps one has to take into account the way men thought about a woman who wasnít a member of their so called society, but a romance story and rape doesnít feel right to me as a reader. The plotline of the story is well thought out and the author has written it well. The character of Diana is well thought out. She is perhaps naÔve but is also idealistic and the way her ideals are torn from her is cruel in the extreme.

I found it strange to comprehend a man like Lord Barry who raped Diana but flew into a cold black rage at the sight of the bruises on her body inflicted by Blackstock. Why was he was angered at the beating the other man gave her but couldnít see his own treatment of Diana was equally as despicable? Hard to picture him as a hero. This despite the fact that he became tender and thoughtful to Diana when she became his mistress.

It is hard for me to award roses for this story. I can only give it 3.5 roses because I found the rape scene too hard to deal with and to be honest I could find no reason why it had to take place. Leaving it aside the book is well written and Donna Kaye has a talent for historical detail.

Reviewed in June 2003 by Mary.

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