by Blair Bancroft

July 2005
ISBN: 0-451-21586-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Signet Books
Mass Market Paperback

On a bitterly cold night, a small girl showed up on the doorstep of Farr Park. The twelve year old had no voice, and the staff of Farr Park took her into their hearts quickly. After gaining permission from the owner, Damon Farr, to have the small girl stay with them, life slowly returned to normal, or as normal as it could be with Damon off fighting against Napoleon.

Six years later, Katy Snow is firmly ensconced in the life of Farr Park. With the arrival of Damon, back from the continent, her life is about to be shaken up all over again. Damon barely remembers the girl he allowed to live in his home six years ago, but he canít keep his eyes off the eighteen year old beauty. She stirs something in him that he wants to remain dead, as dead as he feels inside after the war. Damon makes it his mission to discover who Katy is. He doesnít like how close she has become with his mother, nor does he like the fact that despite her servant status in his household, she has all the manners and pride of a member of the upper crust.

As Katy helps him with his book, his curiosity and desire grow. But his dislike of her mysterious origins also grows. Will Katy ever reveal the truth? Fate it seems has plans for the truth to be discovered.

Lady Silence starts off with an interesting premise. Just who is Katy and why did she run away? What was so bad in her past that made her feel she had no other options but to lie about her life? However, from the moment Damon returned to Farr Park, the story fell apart for me, and unfortunately, this was at the beginning of the book. I do not understand how Katy could profess her love for him when he treated her so horribly. He was suspicious, verbally cruel, and just too insulting for my tastes in a hero. I understand war changing men, making them look at life differently, but Damon seemed to have a penchant for cruelty that made this story painful to read. However, what was the kicker for this reader was the fact that he gave the go ahead to two of his friends to take liberties with Katy, almost leading to her rape. He regrets the decision when he sobers up, but the fact that he would even okay something like that, drunk or not, ruined this story for me.

Added to that is the fact that Damonís mother also treated Katy callously after discovering her deception. I can understand being angry, but the dowager countess wouldnít even listen to Katyís story, or accept her apology all too graciously. The only thing that saved this story for me was the fact that Katy got her own happy ending, and while parts of that ending involved Damon, I was nonetheless happy to see how Katyís future played out.

However, I honestly canít recommend this story unless youíre a reader with a penchant for heroes whose actions do not befit a kind, caring, or remotely considerate man in the least. I may be willing to try something by Blair Bancroft in the future as she has a clear prose voice and knows her Regency period well, creating an eclectic cast of secondary characters that also helped to relieve some of Damonís character flaws.

Reviewed in August 2005 by Sarah.

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