Reviewed by Sarah Brew
Nothing is more seductive than temptation.
Reckless desire sends Charlotte Daicheston into the garden with a dashing masked stranger. He's powerful, unforgettable, a devastatingly handsome footman who lures her - not against her will - into a grand indiscretion at a masquerade ball. Then he vanishes.
Several years later, after Charlotte has made her dazzling debut in London society, they meet again. But the rogue is no footman. He's rich, titled, and he doesn't remember Charlotte. Worse, he's the subject of some scandalous gossip: rumour has it, the earl's virility is in question.
Charlotte, who knows all too intimately the power of his passion, is stunned by the gossip that has set society ablaze. At last, there can be a storybook ending...unless, of course, Charlotte's one mad indiscretion had not been with him at all....
A moment’s madness - losing her virginity to a handsome footman (maybe) - leaves Lady Charlotte Daicheston emotionally scarred. Three years later, they meet again and she finds he wasn’t a footman at all but a rich handsome nobleman. He, however, claims to have no memory of Charlotte.
The plot is good; it could have been hard to make a believable story when one of the main characters can forget having made love to the other but the storyline is well handled. I emphasised with Charlotte but Alex is haughty and proud; the best I can say is that he makes a change from the normal Regency hero. His redeeming feature is his love for his daughter and the storylines which involve her show us the softer side of his character. An interesting twist is that Alex is a twin; this makes plenty of opportunity for confusion and misinterpretation. I enjoyed the way Charlotte’s character developed from gauche schoolgirl to sophisticated debutante.
The plus side is that the story has the reader wondering if the differences between the pair will ever be resolved and that suspense does keep you reading. You may, however, get very frustrated with the fact that there are misunderstandings and just, as I did, want the characters to just TALK to each other.
I have to confess to being a little disappointed with this novel. I am a great fan of Eloisa James and this is not one of her better works. The excellent character development which characterises her more recent work just isn’t in evidence here although in the sub-characters of Sophie and Patrick, there is evidence of what is to come. Originally published in 1999, and now reissued, I would recommend reading some of her other books first and then, if you love her style and want to read all her books, read this.
I'd like to thank Clara at Piatkus for sending us a copy of this book to review and Sarah for reviewing it for me.