Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Without Refuge by Diane Scott Lewis

Diane Scott Lewis’ sequel to ‘The False Light’ opens with Bettina Jonquiere, leaving England aboard ship bound for the Americas with her children, Christian and Genevre, Everett’s nephew Frederick and her servant. In New Orleans she struggles to establish a new life for her children. With no idea whether Everett is still alive, Bettina must decides to go in search of her mother who fled to Louisiana after the horrors of the French Revolution.

Her reunion with her mother is not quite what she imagined, as the widowed countess is about to marry again to a man Bettina takes an immediate dislike to.

The political situation in the south changes and before long, Bettina as a fugitive aristo is under threat yet again, and it doesn’t help that her British passport is a fake.  A ruthless Frenchman demands the money stolen by her father at the start of the French Revolution and kidnaps Bettina. Convinced she knows where the money is hidden, he takes her to France. However, Bettina is nothing if not resourceful and she manages to turn the situation to her own advantage and goes in search of the only man she will ever love.

Ms Scott Lewis has drawn a brave and determined heroine in Bettina, who allows nothing to get in her way of living the way she wants to. The author’s descriptions of the tropical climate of Louisiana’s cloying humid heat and mosquitoes was very realistic. I also liked the way she developed the character of Frederick, the little boy she tutored who proves to be willful and independent, causing Bettina a few problems trying to raise him alone.

Fans of Ms Scot Lewis’ novels will not be disappointed with this latest offering. I think we shall see a lot more of her work.

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