by Catherine Coulter

January 2002
ISBN: 0-515-13225-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

Catherine Coulter is back again with another installment to the Sherbrooke stories. This time, the story revolves around Meggie Sherbrooke, the nineteen-year-old daughter to Rev. Tysen Sherbrooke. Strong willed and determined, Meggie is a true Sherbrooke through and through and beware anyone who stands in her way!

Nineteen-year-old Meggie Sherbrooke has always been the oldest and the leader of all the Sherbrooke cousins - being the only girl helped! She was used to ordering her dratted boy cousins about and making them do as she told them. But she soon learns that her will may not always be the way when it comes to matters of the heart. When Meggie starts out in her first season in the ton, she comes across her almost-cousin Jeremy Stanton-Greville, Sophia Sherbrooke's brother, and the one man with whom she had given her heart to when she was thirteen. But, unbeknownst to Jeremy, he soon breaks her tender young heart, by announcing that he's betrothed. Meggie, being Meggie, tries to rally around and forget about him, but soon finds this impossible. What's a Sherbrooke to do but they pick up the pieces of their lives and move on? And, in Meggie's case, moving on came in the form of Thomas Malcombe, Earl of Lancaster.

Thomas first sees Meggie on the steps of her father's chapel, holding the hand of a very energetic, chocolate-fingered child. All he thinks of is that beautiful woman is the woman he is going to marry… now he needs to find out who she is and get on with it! He begs an introduction, and Meggie is drawn to him, not romantically at first, but because he is the long lost son of her neighbor, who has come to accept his inheritance. Thomas doesn't quite understand why Meggie is so distant with him; she won't let go of her passions and set them free. He courts her and when she finally bends, he asks for her hand. Seeing no other course to take, Meggie accepts. After all, if she can't have Jeremy, she may as well make the best of it and try to find some happiness elsewhere. After they marry, Thomas takes Meggie to his castle, Pendragon, which is on the southeastern coast of Ireland. There she is introduced to his eccentric family and friends and finds herself drawn to this place and the mysteries it holds.

Will Meggie learn to let go of her feelings for Jeremy and let Thomas into her heart? And will Thomas ever make Meggie forget about Jeremy and let him love her as no one else can? Typical questions right? Well, the answers aren't as cut and dry as you would think! But, you'll have to read the book and find out for yourself!!

This is another great story by Catherine Coulter, filled with love, adventure and a cast of eccentric characters that you have come to love in her writings. The Harker brothers and the cat races are back again, along with all of the excitement that they bring. If you have read other regency books by Ms. Coulter, you'll remember her love of cats and how she mentions cat racing in all of her stories, in one form or another.

Meggie is a very independent, yet sentimental person. Her will and stubbornness has gotten her into trouble many times, but she is usually able to get herself out of any mischief. Her family is the center of her universe and the Sherbrooke family is as solid as stone. We should all have a family as united as this, maybe the world would be a better and more peaceful place in which to live.

I hope you love this story as much as I did. Be sure to read my interview with Catherine Coulter, featured as January's Author of the Month, as well as all of the reviews in the Brides series.

Reviewed in December 2001 by Debbie.

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