After the death of her father, Nicole de Clervaux becomes the ward of the ever-so-handsome, filthy rich, powerful Duke of Falkland. William brings her to Versailles, where the decadent lifestyle of the rich and famous are a bit of a shock for a sheltered girl from the country, and it doesn’t help much to have a guardian right in the thick of it all. Nicole runs afoul of one of William’s mistresses and after being caught in a compromising position not of her making, and is packed off to the family estate in Bordeaux. With a revolution in full swing, things get a bit tense in France and William slips her out of the country and packs her off to his family castle in the north of England – but can our intrepid heroine stay put for her own good like she’s told to?
No, she can’t. Despite the night of passion they shared in Bordeaux, William and Nicole just aren’t able to talk to each other, although to be fair William’s on bunches of super-secret missions for King George. Nicole feels unwanted and finds a ship to take her back to Bordeaux and safety (fool, there’s a revolution on). Anyhoo, Nicole gets herself landed in prison and any day could be her last before she’s sent off to the guillotine with the other aristocrats.
Oh heck, there’s a whole lot more, but it’s getting tedious trying to recap it so I’m going to stop. There’s a surprise appearance at the prison, a secret wedding, an escape gone awry, a quick trip to Egypt with Napoleon, lots of misunderstandings and many, many episodes of *reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated*. During it all, Nicole analyzes ever big misunderstanding to the nth degree with her perpetual could-have/should-have/would-haves. Argh.
Ooops, one more thing – sexual content. Fairly tame compared to other books from this period, but there are a few seriously cheesy moments that will have you chuckling a bit.
You are like a frightened young doe in the forest, afraid to let the stag mount her and plunge his virile member into her warm depths.” Roger spoke the words deliberately to stimulate and humiliate her, to allow her to recognize herself as a dumb female beast that had no other hope than submission to the dominant male.”
Not great, but not bad either. Library only.