To see what I wrote about Alex and Hebe’s story, go here.
Author: Louise Allen
ISBN: 0-373-29409-3 (Harlequin Historical – Regency)
Finished: 1 April 2007
Who: Miss Joanna Fulgrave and Colonel Gregory Giles
From the back: Miss Joanna Fulgrave has turned herself into the perfect society catch to be worthy of dashing Colonel Giles Gregory. But all her hard effort to improve herself comes to nothing when it looks as if Giles is about to propose to someone else. Deciding that bad behavior is infinitely more attractive than perfection, Joanna flees her shocked family. Giles is hot on her trail, determined to catch her and bring her safely home.
I enjoyed Ms. Allen’s previous Harlequin Historical, The Earl’s Intended Wife (793), very much and I hoped this one would be just as enjoyable. Though there where a few things I thought were far-fetched, I could easy overlook them because the over all story held my interest.
Joanna’s best-laid plans fall apart when she believes the man she’s in love with is going to propose to another woman. The shock is so great that Joanna throws away her status as the perfect debutante and behaves recklessly, much to the consternation of her parents. For nearly two Seasons, they’ve stood by as Joanna rejected suitors with very little explanation. Rufus Carstairs, Earl of Clifton, has expressed his desire to court Joanna and is even willing to overlook her behavior. Joanna won’t have him. Her parents, pushed to the end of their patience, decide to pack her off to Bath and elderly relative — instead of joining the family in Brighton — until she comes to her senses and agrees to marry Clifton. So Joanna does the only thing she thinks she can do: she runs away.
Colonel Gregory has a lot on his mind and is completely unaware that he’s the man who broke Joanna’s heart. He’s in London with plans to cash out of the army and return to his family estate to help his father, who’s health isn’t as good as it should be. The woman Joanna thinks he’s in love with is an old family friend. And though he does love her, it’s platonic. He’s trusted by her family and it’s understood that there is nothing serious between the pair. However, to a causal and uninformed observer, it appears that there is an understanding between them. Giles is visiting Alex and Hebe (the couple from The Earl’s Intended Wife) when Mrs. Fulgrave comes to the earl for help in locating Joanna. Since Hebe is very pregnant, Giles is dispatched to retrieve the runaway.
I liked Joanna and Giles. Though she ran away, she wasn’t a flighty character; just a heartbroken girl needing some time to think without pressure from her parents to marry. Giles was a nice guy, trustworthy, kind, and the perfect hero who rides to the rescue. I was disappointed with the author for including a scene almost similar to the one in The Earl’s Intended Wife, where the hero takes unwitting advantage of the heroine. The reader already knows that Giles has fallen for Joanna and we also know that Joanna thinks that Giles desires Lady Suzanne, so the scene was unnecessary. Fortunately, the scene did not go as far as the scene between the delirious Alex and Hebe.