by Connie Brockway

October 1997
ISBN: 0-440-22372-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

It’s a bit difficult to provide a book description on what has got to be one of the most deeply intense romance books that I’ve ever read. Both the romance and the mystery plot has been intertwined perfectly that neither deserves the title of “sub-plot”. However, since romance still rules at A Romance Review, it’s obviously the romance that ruled in All Through the Night.

Anne Wilder has been given the moniker “Wrexhall’s Wraith” since she enters London’s finest homes like a phantom and robs them blind. But no one suspects the unprepossessing widowed chaperone to be the notorious burglar. Anne’s burglary has been treated by the ton as the latest on-dit – that is, until she is believed to have stolen a classified letter from the king.

Colonel Jack Seward is assigned to hunt down the Wraith. With his skills as a master spy, including his apparent lack of morals (or rather soul), he’s the perfect agent to ferret out the Wraith – to retrieve and destroy both the letter and the person. He never counted on the agile burglar to be a woman – and to lust after her intensely!

But by day, Jack’s mission is distracted by the quiet widow, as he is reluctantly attracted to her grace and wit – not to mention her lack of vanity. Jack’s attention, however, strikes Anne’s fears, believing that he sought her company to confirm his suspicions that she might be the Wraith. If he doesn’t already suspect her as the burglar who kissed him senseless in the dark of the night, then he will soon, for Anne hungers for Jack the same way Jack lusts after the Wraith.

All Through the Night is all about characters – characters, characters, characters!!! Alright, so there is also a fascinating underlying plot mixed in with the romance which makes for an engrossing read. Jack and Anne are both deeply motivated people – their present dispositions and purpose having been shaped by their past. And if you’re an alpha man fan, then you’re surely to fall in love with Jack! Though he tries to keep his emotions well hidden from everyone, including Anne, his inner desires is what strikes at the heart of the woman reader (me!). Anne, being the Wrexhall Wraith, has enough audacity to be Jack’s mate; when she discovers she has nothing more to lose, including Jack’s love, she flies through London’s rooftops as if meeting her death. There’s really nothing more tragic than these two. But instead of feeling exasperated with all the melodrama, it is to Connie Brockway’s credit that Jack and Anne are admirable people that a reader can easily identify with and love.

The mystery plot regarding the letter is aces! Ms. Brockway ties in the first chapter to the last rather neatly and surprisingly. But even if my first thought was, “All that for a crummy little letter?”, it was still a smartly done conclusion. Though it wasn’t the ending, I thought the part where the satisfyingly unpleasant villain confessed all to Anne is rather Scooby Doo-ish (even if it was for a purpose). After all, all that he said was already disclosed to the reader, as well as to Anne, by Jack’s fiercely loyal manservant earlier in the story.

With Jack’s past doings, terrible things during the war, and Anne’s devotion to her charity to maimed or killed soldiers and their families (showing the consequences of war), the whole tone of the book is rather desolate. Even Jack and Anne’s love affair was on the bleak side – but, of course, it wouldn’t be a romance if love didn’t conquer all! All Through the Night is an enthralling read, so be prepared to spend the time (and lots of sighing!) to finish it in one sitting!

Reviewed in May 2002 by Veronica.

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