Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Baron In Her Bed by Maggi Andersen

London, 1816. A handsome baron. A faux betrothal. And Horatia's plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn. 

Now that the war with France has ended, Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance, abandoned over thirty years ago when his father fled to France after killing a man in a duel. When Guy is set upon by footpads in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. 

When Horatia discovers Guy lying unconscious on the road, the two are forced to take shelter for the night in a hunting lodge. After Guy discovers her ruse, a friendship develops between them. Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore is behind the attacks on his life. He has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family's exile and will become the heir should Guy die. Horatia refuses to believe her godfather, Eustace, is responsible. But when Guy proposes a faux betrothal to give him more time to discover the truth, she agrees.

Horatia is a typical Regency young lady brought up to a genteel but uneventful life in the country where her small rebellion is to go riding alone in men’s clothes on her father’s horse, The General.  One day she happens to find a handsome, unconscious man on the roadside and helps him back to the nearest shelter, a hunting lodge in the woods.  Trapped there for the night, Horatia has to continue her masquerade as a groom.

Things seem to work well and the next day, she discovers Baron Guy Fortescue is in fact the heir to the neighbouring estate where her godfather, Eustace lives.

However, Guy is half French and no one is going to fool him into believing the soft faced, gently curved Horatia is a boy, and before long he confronts her with her deceit, and inveigles her into a mock engagement.  Guy is a more complicated character than one might imagine, he has been attacked by would be assassins, twice and whoever wants him dead isn’t about to give up now.

Befriended by Lord Strathairn, he isn’t entirely alone in his quest both to stay alive and prove his ancestry so he can lay claim to his estate. Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore is behind the attacks on his life, and has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family's exile and becomes its heir should Guy die.

Now that Horatia is engaged, her father is happy to allow her to have a season in London with his sister, Emily, who is immediately taken with Guy, and although Horatia keeps telling herself their betrothal is only a ruse, her feelings for him deepen until she is desperate to help him find out who is trying to kill him.

This story has all the elements of a perfect Regency romance, a handsome Frenchman in fear of his life from unknown quarters, a beautiful girl trying not to fall in love with him and a mysterious Lord who becomes his friend but seems to know a lot more about him than a stranger should.

As a fan of Maggi Andersen, she has done it again with ‘A Baron In Her Bed’, with a mystery encompassed within a love story that has to be solved, and races along to a satisfying conclusion.

The reviewer received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest, unpaid review.

Anita Davison is a Historical Fiction Author whose latest release, ‘Royalist Rebel’ a biographical novel set in 17th Century England, is being released by Claymore Books in early 2013 under the name Anita Seymour


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