Long before becoming the flamboyant courtesan known to men as Madame de Maitenon, Thérèse Angelique Bouchard, dreamed of becoming an actress capable of commanding not only the stage but all of Paris. Until she meets an extraordinary aristocratic gentleman who sweeps her into his arms and the danger of his life, while offering her the sort of wealth she never imagined. What starts off as a seductive alliance, ends in her giving him the one thing she, as a mere bourgeoisie, cannot afford to give: her love.
After the murder of his older brothers, Gérard Antoine Tolbert, becomes the last heir to the powerful dukedom of Andelot, leaving him to fight for not only his life, but the allegiance he holds for the crown. During the final rise of the French Revolution that whispers of the violent change about to shake the entire country, Gérard meets an aspiring actress who entices him into wanting more out of not only himself but life. In trying to protect her from their overly passionate alliance and those that want him dead, he must decide what matters most: his life or his heart.
REVIEW: Delilah Marvelle’s romance stories have always had a heart besides being unbelievably sensual and sweet all at the same time. This one had taken the sensuality just a bit further and made this story too erotically charged for me. That however had not stopped me from enjoying this wonderful story told from both points of view of our hero and heroine.
After six books, The School of Gallantry series is at an end and we finally get the story of its Mistress.
I actually loved that Ms. Marvelle dedicated a good chunk of this book to the back story of both, Therese and Gerard. Because of it, both of their characters were well-developed and by the time I had entered into the “present” telling of the story, I was well invested in finding out the end.
The story starts with young Therese making a life altering decision to take flight from her home, therefore escaping a marriage to an old man her father had ordered her to do, and she’s excited to reach Paris and her cousin so she can start her acting career. Along the way she muses about her life and her ambitions while at the same time getting lost. After two days of wandering about, she encounters a rider on a magnificent horse, all dressed up as a highwayman. Surmising that she’s better off asking this man for directions, than wondering around and risking being tracked by her family, she stops and asks him if she’s on the right road to Paris.
And the rest, as they say, is history and what a history it is.
If you love second chance at love tropes, than you’ll like reading this story, but you’ll also appreciate the historical aspect of it as well. Throughout the story Ms. Marvelle seamlessly weaves the most terrifying and ugly part of French history, yet through wonderful dialogue and inner thoughts of her main characters, she still manages to make me chuckle from time to time.
That said, I’d like to warn you all non-erotica bookworms. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on an entertaining and at times sweet love story because of a handful of paragraphs, so do what I do when faced with the same problem: skim through those parts. Trust me, it’ll be worth it in the end.
Melanie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the author