Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2009)
After reading Linoreâ€™s Before the Season Ends, I was impatient to get my hands on a copy of this book being as I am an avid historical fan and enjoyed reading Jane Austen books when I encountered them as a teen. Thankfully I wasnâ€™t disappointed when this book arrived. It took a chapter or two to get into it but by then I was back with old friends experiencing their new adventures and struggles. Ariana is set to marry Mr. Mornay, otherwise known as the Paragon. Mrs. Bentley has her eyes on Mr. Pellham but thinks he wouldnâ€™t want her. However he is just as smitten or perhaps more entranced by her than she by him. At the start of this narrative the weddings are planned as a double ceremony with all the trappings incumbent to Mornay and Pellhamâ€™s positions and incomes though they do try to keep it small in terms of guests. Mornay has however incurred the displeasure of Wingate by foiling the attempt to do away with someone he lost a huge sum of money to. Wingate despite being of the titled nobility is a nearly penniless cad and attempts to support his gambling and other pursuits through petty thievery and other crimes. His latest scheme is revenge on Mornay through absconding with Ariana and demanding a ridiculous ransom. Will the scheme succeed, will Mornay discover who is behind it in time and discover the whereabouts of his beloved after Wingate gets his hands on her? Who wins and who loses in a game of cat and mouse where the roles seem to change by the moment?
Burkardâ€™s characters once again take center stage in flowing prose that transports the reader to not only a foreign locale but a distinctly unique era in world history especially for the British inhabitants in their homeland. I sincerely hope there are more books on the way starring the Mornays and Pellhams with their entourage of friends and family. The double wedding that is alluded to early on in this chapter of their story is really only a new beginning all and I would love to experience more of this story especially written in Linoreâ€™s distinctive style so apropos for the setting and era she has embraced in her novels. As suspected from reading the previous book, the details are woven into the narrative such that there is little disruption for explanation and the reader is encompassed by the sensations of the Regency, the ton, the events and the everday life in London. As historicals go this is among those that keep me coming back for more of the people and time being shared through fiction. While many of my favorite books do not focus on specific events along the historical timeline or even real people, they are written by authors who research their material down to the minutest details then have discovered how to strain that information and stitch it into their plots to the best effect and nearly invisibly to the reader. I so enjoy being able to read fictional stories that bring the people and their lives to the fore of any given era rather than recounting events or biographical data as if reading a reference work or history text that tend to put me to sleep rather promptly. Burkard has proven twice now that she is an author uniquely suited to writing just the types of historical novels that first fostered my love of the genre. (ISBN#9780736925655, 348pp, $13.99)