Top critical review
10 people found this helpful
pleasant Georgian romance
on December 2, 2012
Melisande Compton meets Lord Alessandro Orsini at Versailles when she is 15 years old. She and Orsini are instantly attracted, but she is taken to England by her parents to make an arranged marriage. Neither she nor her prospective husband want to marry the other. They are close childhood friends who see each other like brother and sister, so the marriage never comes off. Instead, both remain unmarried for the next five years when Melisande meets Alessandro again. By now, she has been made a countess in her own right, as her father had no male heirs and petitioned the king to allow it. Orsini is a duke and in the diplomatic service of the Vatican, assigned to England. Once they meet, sparks fly again and Melisande resolves to take Orsini as a lover - albeit discreetly. Unknown to most people, Melisande is actually the illegitimate daughter of Louis XV and his first, wellborn mistress, who was married off to an English lord when she became pregnant. Melisande's life and personal ambitions have been affected by this, so she is not looking for love, or even necessarily marriage, only passion.
The book seemed overly plotted, and the characters more stereotypical than original or well fleshed out. I found Melisande somewhat too hardbitten for my taste, but it's hard to find fault when the attitude is probably fairly accurate for the time period. Alessandro was also a rather thinly drawn character, so didn't seem particularly swoon worthy. While Melisande and Alessandro do feel more than just passion for each other, it's not seen very much outside the bedroom. There plenty of sex, and it's fairly well-done. A pleasant enough story if you like Georgian romances.