"The Vanishing Viscountess" grabbed me from the first paragraph -- actually, from the first sentence! I was swept up into the drama and urgency of this love story as surely as if I was there. Tanner (Adam Vickery, Marquess of Tannerton), is every woman's dream of the ideal man -- kind, handsome, strong, brave, at times quite funny, and oh so romantic! -- but not once does he become a cliched Regency hero. I admire Marlena from the first scene (unknown to Tanner, she is actually a viscountess, wrongly accused of murder, and a fugitive), and I long for them to fall in love. Their path to love is fraught with peril, and I couldn't put the book down until I reached the end... it was more than worth losing sleep for!
Diane Gaston employs her wonderful narrative skills once again, weaving a story both compelling and believable, in a book that's one of her very best (IMHO) since 'The Improper Wife' and 'The Mysterious Miss M.' She is a master at conveying the spirit of Regency England -- its mores and manners and turns of phrase -- and her research into the details of the actual route that Tanner and Marlena use to escape the law (and the man who wants her very much dead) add even more to the story's realism. This realism is one of Gaston's hallmarks.
Best of all is the relationship between Tanner and Marlena, both of whom have known great loneliness in their lives and who have despaired of finding anything like real love. In scene after scene, as they are forced into flight, they are also becoming closer and closer, and when the love scenes come, are they EVER *great*. There are quite a few gorgeous, steamy love scenes - the kind you re-read immediately, they're so good...
This is a book to be treasured again and again, and I cannot wait for Gaston's next one. I always know her stories will be satisfying, real, and beautiful.
Happy reading, romance lovers!