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by Sheila Simonson
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: Captain Richard Falk's brusque manner nearly alienates Emily Foster on their first meeting. Only the realization that her young son needs companions convinces her to take in his two motherless children while he returns to the fight against Napoleon's armies. For the next two years, her only contact with Falk is through his letters, terse messages, but always accompanied by charming stories for the children. She slowly falls in love with the man behind the stories. When now-Major Falk returns for a brief visit before shipping out to North America, she sees nothing of the storyteller in the tired, short-spoken soldier. Concerned over the fate of his children if he should fall in battle, Falk sets up guardianships. An acquaintance, well-intentioned but misguided, mentions him to the half-sister he has not seen for twenty years. Falk is the son of the widowed Duchess of Newsham, but not of the late duke. Never having been declared illegitimate, Richard has some claim on the estate now held by his half-brother. There is ample evidence that attempts on his life have been made in the past, and now he fears for his children's safety. But he is a soldier, and Napoleon is once again loose in Europe, so all he can do is trust Emily, his friend Tom Conway, and his brother-in-law to protect the children. When Richard returns, wounded, from Waterloo, and speaks of emigrating to keep them safe, Emily knows she must speak her mind--and her heart--or lose him forever.
eBook Publisher: Uncial Press, 2007
eBookwise Release Date: October 2007
39 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [388 KB]
Reading time: 235-330 min.
"...a first rate Regency novel, canny in craft and handsomely peopled with full-fledged characters"--Kirkus
"There is nothing ordinary about this book."--Romantic Times
Emily had fallen in love with the Author of Dona Inez. She brought herself to admit her feelings the day Eustachio arrived. Emily fell in love frequently. It was her secret vice, cultivated since girlhood, when she had tumbled head over ears in love with her father's new bailiff because he had guinea-gold hair.
Emily had never done anything about her little passions. Virtue? Rather prudence, perhaps, or cowardice. She did not suppose she would do anything about this passion, either, but she had now been a widow for four and a half years. Sometimes she felt as if her widow's weeds were a nun's habit, or as if, at five and twenty, she had taken on the mantle of middle age. Sometimes she wanted to do something quite mad--run off with a band of gypsies or take up opera dancing. It was in this spirit of secret recklessness that she had indulged her epistolatory passion for Richard Falk. It was not quite a safe thing to do, and that was why she did it.
As the "doing" so far consisted only in writing him cheerful details of his children's lives and rereading the brief notes that prefaced each installment of Dona Inez for signs of the man behind the pen, her risk had not seemed very great. But there was risk. The uncertain, up-and-down state of mind that had driven her to write the furious letter to him when she thought he would not come to see the children had taught her that much. Her anger had been disproportionate. The children did not miss him. How could they? Amy would surely have missed his letters--Matt as well. But none of the three children remembered Richard Falk as a real presence. Emily was the one who wanted to see him in the flesh.
She also had to admit to herself that part of her anticipation stemmed from plain vulgar excitement. She was exceedingly curious to see him again. She wanted to compare the man with the writer of absurd adventures. She reminded herself that she had not been enchanted with him at their first meeting. Indeed, he had struck her as remarkably cross-grained. In all likelihood she would find him repellent, and probably that would be for the best.