4.0 out of 5 starsMavreen is the illegitimate daughter of Sir John Danesfield, a result of an affair with his daughters’ governess. Sir John learns of the existence of a child years later, and hoping for a son he heads for the Sussex farm where the child is living and despite the disappointment of a girl (gasp!), he is so impressed with Mavreen’s intelligence and indomitable spirit that he makes arrangements for her proper education. Sir John also has a young ward, Gerard de Valle (Gerard’s mother put him into Sir John’s care during the height of the French Revolution), and Mavreen has loved him since she was a youngin’. When he matures, Gerard returns to France to fight for the royalist cause and eventually returns to England years later to find a very grown up and most delectable Mavreen. Of course it’s true love until death do they part, but Gerard needs a rich heiress to help restore his family home and being a penniless by-blow Mavreen is pretty much out of the running.

What follows are plentiful ups and downs and too-brief reunions amidst looooooong separations as our pair of lovers battle fate, amnesia, ill-advised marriages, the Napoleonic wars, the Russian winter and more. Despite some OTT situations that might seem a bit of a stretch (you would think that finding one soldier in Napoleon’s army in a country as vast as Russia would be like finding a needle in a haystack but our Mavreen she can do it all ;)), this was still an enjoyable romp. Note: whilst our heroine is stubborn and independent to a fault and she does have quite the adventurous life, this is not your usual foot-stamping TSTL always needs the hero to get her out of her latest pickle kind of heroine. Our Mavreen takes care of herself, with a little help from her faithful servant Dickon. This is the first in a trilogy, the next two being Tamarisk and the last Chantal (oh, wait until you see that cover).  There’s a bit of telling instead of showing here and there, but otherwise a solid entertaining romance with a good dollop of history.  From the page listing at Fantastic Fiction Lorimer has quite an interesting backlog of historicals/romances and she also writes under the pseudonym Patricia Robbins.

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