Wednesday, August 10, 2011

THE DRAGON'S BRIDE by Jo Beverley

THE DRAGON’S BRIDE – Jo Beverley
Signet Eclipse
ISBN: 978-0-451-23340-0
August 2011
Historical Romance

Devon on the Southern Coast of England, 1816

In two magical weeks when they were but fifteen, Susan and Con became fast friends, then lovers. It was a true love that should have lasted forever, but Susan’s insecurities made her send Con on his way with a deep wound in his heart. Now, eleven years later, Con is back, having inherited the title and estate from the mad old Earl of Wyvern. It’s an inheritance he doesn’t want; it should have been his brother’s. Besides, he has another title and estate from his immediate branch of the Somerford family (the branch thankfully free from the madness that ran in the old earl’s blood), and his memories of Crag Wyvern are still painful. His years fighting in the late wars did nothing to ease his bitterness.

For the last three years, Susan Kerslake served as the old earl’s secretary. She’s now acting as housekeeper at Crag Wyvern while searching for the gold the old earl stole from the local freetraders. Susan and her brother David hold an ambiguous position in the neighborhood. They were raised in the home of their uncle, the local squire, though they are actually the illegitimate children of his wife’s sister and the chief of the smugglers—who is always known as Captain Drake. Now that the captain has been caught and transported, is it up to his son to become the next Captain Drake? Most of the citizens of the area depend on the smuggling for their livelihoods. Susan and David’s mother took all their savings and followed her lover to Australia. It’s very important to her children and the whole community to find the gold hidden by the old earl. Susan fears for her brother if the smuggling runs must continue. Since the end of the war, more patrols are guarding the coast.

The meeting between Susan and Con is a momentous one. The old feelings are there, but Con, especially, puts up a valiant fight against the attraction. He has in mind a very suitable lady for a wife. He intends to look into the freetrade in the area before leaving as soon as he can.

THE DRAGON’S BRIDE is a highly emotional tale of star-crossed lovers. Con’s wounds are deep, both from Susan’s cruel dismissal and the war. Susan suffers guilt over her past action toward Con and can’t help wondering how much she is responsible for the vulnerability she sometimes sees in his eyes. At the same time, she’s torn between her feelings for him and her loyalty to her brother and friends.

Complexity marks both the people and the multi-threaded plot of THE DRAGON’S BRIDE. It’s a definite page-turner; be prepared to get caught up in the tale.

This novel includes characters from other books. THE DRAGON’S BRIDE is the reissued sixth book in the Company of Rogues series, and book two of the Three Georges. Ms. Beverley builds complete and consistent worlds. To see how the stories intertwine, check out her website at JoBev.com.

Jane Bowers

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