Book Review

‘Stages of Desire’ by Julia Tagan

sod jtSTORY: To be or not to be—in love…

As a ward of the Duchess of Dorset, Harriet can hardly expect more from a match than the ringing endorsement of “from what I’ve heard, the man is financially secure and his teeth are quite regular.” After all, she’s only the lowly daughter of traveling actors, not the actual daughter of the duchess.

William Talbot, Earl of Abingdon is set to marry the duchess’s daughter. After his elder brother’s scandalous death, his family’s reputation is paramount, and he’ll allow nothing to damage it again. But when Harriet disappears to save her father from debtor’s prison, the scandal threatens William and his intended’s family. The simple task of fetching the duchess’s runaway ward turns complicated when Harriet insists on traveling with her father’s acting company. William’s forced to tag along, and finds himself entranced. The stage transforms Harriet into a free-spirited, captivating beauty. But, someone’s been sabotaging the theater company, and instead of facing scandal, William and Harriet discover a threat not only to their growing passion, but to their lives…

REVIEW: London 1808

Harriet Farley is the ward of Eleanor, the Duchess of Dorset.  Harriet’s parents were actors.  Her father still works with Farley’s Players but is slowly losing his business due to his constant drunkenness.  After her mother passed away, Harriet, age 12, went to live with the Duchess and her daughter, Lady Marianne.  Since Eleanor’s husband passed away 3 years ago, she has come to realize that she is suffering some financial woes.  Harriet has also acted as companion and hand maiden to Lady Marianne who currently has her eye on marrying William Richard Talbot, the Earl of Abingdon.  He is a very wealthy man who also owns Poundridge Hall, the family’s estate outside London.  As for Harriet, the Duchess is pushing to pair her with Mr. Hopplehill, the sixth son of a baron and who works at Barings Bank of London.  A tall girl with fairly large feet, Harriet towers over most men she meets.  But when she met Mr. Hopplehill, she was appalled.  He was much shorter than she, older, balding and sweating.  Yuk! As the soiree is at the home of the Earl of Abingdon, Harriet decided to escape the party and find a place to hide out.

William Talbot is a very intelligent man who studied medicine and has a passion to find cures for diseases.  His biggest goal is to find a cure for the malaria that has long plagued his sister, Claire.  So, when he finds Harriet alone in his library enjoying his books, they strike up a conversation and begin discussion plays.

When Harriet learns that her father is indeed on the verge of losing his acting business, she decided to flee to him and see if she can help in some way.  William Talbot is enlisted to go after her and bring her back.  Thus begins a comedy of errors that throws Harriet and William together trying to keep the acting company together.  In doing so, thus begins an attraction and romance between them.  But what about Marianne to whom William is supposedly betrothed?  Will Harriet’s reputation be ruined?

There were parts of this story that I enjoyed but I must admit that it dragged for me at times and it took a lot of concentration to keep up with the characters and plot twists.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher


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