The story begins in 1742 and is focused around the love story of Charlotte Wallace and Robert Devington. Upon the death of her parents, Charlotte was raised in the household of her Uncle, Lord Gower. Surrounded by uncaring relatives Charlotte always is more at home in her uncle’s stables and develops a close relationship with Robert, but as a groom he can never hope to wed her (although they can dream…). Robert signs up as a soldier in King George’s army and eventually strikes up a close friendship with Captain Phillip Drake, the younger son of the Earl of Hastings. Robert brings Phillip back to meet Lord Gower when their tour of duty is up, and Phillip finds himself quite charmed by Gower’s daughter Beatrix, but that relationship brings on unforeseen circumstances.
Beatrix is looking for a husband and Phillip’s wastrel older brother needs to beget an heir or his father will disinherit him and well, after that things start to get too complicated to try and explain without giving it all away. Robert ends up in the cold in the midst of a Big Misunderstanding as well as facing charges for insubordination and he heads for the colonies with hatred in his heart. Thus sets up an Edmond Dantès style *Retribution* wherein Robert plots for years to wreak havoc on those who done him wrong.
All in all a pretty decent story, with the added background of the world of horses, horseflesh, and the sport of racing, but at times the details on all things horsy can go on a bit and might not suit for a reader with no interest in the topic. I personally am clueless when it comes to horses so I’ll leave that for other readers to judge if the author is spot on or not. While I did enjoy Robert and Charlotte’s story and I had a hard time putting this one down, I felt that things got a tad bit too melodramatic and soap opera-ish about 1/2 of the way through, but she did pull it back up to par at the end. I’d have like to have had less of the strum and drang of the marital issues and more on Robert’s life in Virginia – that was just a bit too rushed for my tastes. The *tis* and *betimes* language got a bit wearying as well, but still minor nits and a pretty solid first outing for author Emery Lee, and I’m looking forward to more (I hear there’s a sequel planned). 3.5/5stars.
My copy courtesy of Sourcebooks. Thank you.