Camilla Forest finds herself alone on a muddy road, left to fend for herself, when the carriage of Lord Leominster pulls up alongside. This sets off an agreement to a marriage of convenience with Camilla and Lavenham, the Lord. They move to Portugal, along with his sister, Chloe. Camilla finds herself falling in love with her husband. But will her French brother ruin everything?
Jane Aiken Hodge was born in the USA, brought up in the UK and read English at Oxford. She received a master's degree from Radcliffe College, Harvard University. Before her books became her living she worked as a civil servant, journalist, publishers' reader and a reviewer. She has written lives of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer as well as a book about women in the Regency period, Passion and Principle. But her main output has been over twenty historical novels set in the eighteenth century, including Polonaise, The Lost Garden, and Savannah Purchase, the beloved third volume of a trilogy set during and after the American War of Independence. More recently she has written novels for Severn House Publishers. She enjoys the borderland between mystery and novel, is pleased to be classed as a feminist writer, and is glad that there is neither a glass ceiling nor a retiring age in the writers' world. She was the daughter of Conrad Aiken and sister of Joan Aiken.
©1961 Jane Aiken Hodge (P)2013 Audible Ltd
This story went in fits and starts and at times was both exasperating and thrilling. I almost gave up on it in the middle when the big 'misunderstanding' could have been cleared up with a hard talk. I kept going thought and the story line cleared and opened into an exciting escape through an occupied Portugal. And a secondary romance that would have made a great second book. I kept going through the rough parts and the ending came up gold. Yes, the hero and heroine do not spend enough time together and, for much of the book, are apart and making themselves sick with anxiety about the misunderstanding between them. But the secondary plot of politics with Napoleon's France and other things kept the book aimed in a good direction. The narrator was excellent. Her voices where superb. Be warned however this is not a lighthearted Heyer book. While it has its moments of fun, Heyer has a lighter hand on the drama that Hodge does. But after I settled in it was still a compelling read. At least I stayed up to hear the end so that recommends it.
I gave this author a try because I had read a comment on Audible that compared her to Georgette Heyer. In this, I was misled. While I realize that no two authors have the exact same voice, Heyer has a way of slipping seamlessly into a Regency era character, that Ms Hogde unfortunately doesn't quite master. Some of the dialogue spoken by the working class characters, in particular, was almost wince inducing, and gave them a cartoonish air. The narrator was at fault in no small part for this, I feel. Her cut glass enunciation somehow emphasized the vapidity of the story, and her attempts at foreign accents were grating. I forced myself through this book, but will definitely never listen to another Jane Hodge again.
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