“I will love you all my life and even beyond that.”
Even at fifteen, Jeanne, the privileged daughter of a royalist émigré, knew what she liked: Englishman Robert Blake, bastard son of a marquess. Yet his questionable birth rendered him forbidden. Forced to part, they were still young enough to believe in tomorrow. But as time passed, that brief ephemeral flirtation at Haddington Hall faded into memory.
Eleven years later in Portugal, during the Peninsular Wars, they meet again, both of them spies, and destined to be working on opposing sides. He is now a captain with the British army. She is the widowed Marquesa das Minas–sometimes going by the name Joana da Fonte. However for only one of them does the flicker of recognition still burn.
Amid the fury of war and in the shadow of secrets, passion flares once again. But for Joana and Robert, each entrusted to a dangerous mission that demands deception, falling in love could be the most dangerous risk of all.
REVIEW: England 1799
Robert Blake, age 17, is the illegitimate son of the Marquess of Quesnay of Haddington Hall. His mother was the mistress of the Marquess for many years until her death. While he has always been provided for by his father, the man’s wife hates him because she has never had any children with him. His father has promised to buy him a commission when he turned 18.
The lovely French girl, Jeanne Morisette, age 15, visits the Hall and meets Robert out on the grounds. They enjoy exploring the area and indulging in a few kisses. Jeanne is the daughter of the Comte de Levisse who had fled France during the Reign of Terror and now lives in England. Robert quickly falls in love with Jeanne but when she departs, she treats him with disdain.
Rather than wait until he was 18, Robert decides to run away and enlist as a soldier in the Ninety-Fifth Rifles infantry regiment. Private Robert Blake is then headed to India determined to make his life on his own.
Portugal and Spain 1810
Now we find Captain Robert Blake, a hero, tough, battle scarred, proud, and multi-lingual man healing from some serious wounds he received in battle. Anxious to return to duty and his men, he has worked hard to regain his strength.
He is invited to attend a soiree, he is shocked to meet Jeanne who is now known as Joana de Fonte, the Marquesa das Minas. She is now widowed and while he recognizes her, she does not recognize him probably due to the scarring on his face. She flirts with him but he remains simply cordial. Lord Wellington tasks him with escorting her to Viseu to visit her aunt and while he would rather decline, he has no other choice but to accept the assignment. There is something in her that wants to humiliate him probably because he would not fall at her feet like other men do.
When he safely brings her to her destination, he is then sent on a special mission by Wellington. He is captured by the French and at the same time he receives a great shock.
I have enjoyed Mary Balogh’s novels for many years but have to say that I was extremely disappointed and rather bored by this one. It is a re-release from the original 1992 book. I found Jeanne to be very irritating and there was way too much time of the book spent on the war.
Connie for b2b