The French Duchess


REGENCY:  Maribelle Petersham, Duchess of Stonegreave, has lived quietly since the deaths of her  fiancé and father. Dubbed the French Duchess by the ton, she is steadfastly working to restore her family name.  When her former childhood friend, Captain Sir Richard Campion visits, ostensibly to return letters from her deceased fiancé,  he is cold to her, although she cannot understand why.  Maribelle receives news that her cousin plans to assassinate Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and she flees to France to rescue him. She soon discovers that a bitter enemy is manipulating her actions.  Richard intercepts and forces her to act as his wife in his mission to foil the plot. He is intent on keeping a close eye on the French Duchess who may well be a traitor.  How can love blossom between two people who are so at odds with each other?

“The French Duchess” is historical romance lush with details of intrigue and adventure.  Readers interested in Napoleonic-era Europe will appreciate how factual events are intertwined with fiction.  Maribelle is highly sympathetic — a young woman whose life has been damaged by fate and sabotage by a wicked enemy.  Richard is less so. Cold and calculating, at times he is downright cruel to Maribelle.  Eventually, he is revealed to have a tender heart that fears the loss inherent in loving someone, and must take a chance on love or risk losing it.  “The French Duchess” has enthralling, nearly nonstop suspense, with a romance that is slightly less compelling but overall, enjoyable reading.

Danielle Hill