Amanda Burke, daughter of a country vicar, encounters the dissolute Lord Ravenscar. Despite his unsavoury reputation, he is a friend of the Prince of Wales. Amanda runs away from him in disgust. But soon Lord Ravenscar has in his hands the life of a man with whom Amanda is deeply in love: and the only way to save her lover’s life is to accept the man she loathes …
An ideal book to read in the tub. Barbara Cartland was one of the first historical authors I discovered as a teenager, and I still like reading her books. They are timeless, and really easy to read. Which is good when you are tired and have those cursed headaches.
Amanda lives in a little village, where the local people are involved in a little bit of smuggling. One evening, they are followed by the Dragoons, and one of them is shot. Amanda tells them to hide in an abandoned building in the garden of Lord Ravenscar. But the prize Lord Ravenscar asks her to pay for keeping the Dragoons from searching his property is high. And when the next day there is the suspicion that one of them is not just a local smuggler, but a French spy, Lord Ravenscar demands that she marry him, and fast. In the meantime, Amanda has fallen in love with this Peter, and she will do anything to save his life.
So she agrees to marry him, but Lord Ravenscar still tries to cheat on his promise. But Peter escapes, and Amanda is rushed of to London with Lady Standon, Lord Ravenscars sister, to buy her trousseau. Lord Ravenscar also gives her father, who is a vicar on a very small salary, a bigger parish on one of his other estates. So he not only bribes her with the life of the man she loves, but with the future of her father, the happiness of her whole family! As his wife, she can do so much for her younger siblings, buy them things her parents never could afford.
Lady Standon tries to get her to run away, as her brother is a very wicked person. He will defile her, demean her, make her life miserable. But Amanda cannot come back on her word, she keeps hoping instead that Peter will safe her. And then there is Lady Isabel, who believed Lord Ravenscar would marry her! So she hates Amanda, and tries some cruel tricks to get rid of her. Fortunately, there finally is Peter to save her, but he has to leave her in Lord Ravenscars house, without any explanation why. Only the declaration that he loves her, and she has to trust him. But can he safe her in time? When the marriage is to take place the very next day in Carlton House?
Of course, Amanda is a ninny, and nothing like the strong heroines I love reading about. Totally helpless and clueless and naïve. But she has her good qualities too, and she finds Lady Standon her true love. And Peter stayed a mystery until the last few pages. That way, you cannot learn to like him when you read about his past, as that didn’t happen.
So the story was nice, and relaxing, and I will certainly read some more books. After all, I have hundreds of them.