#historical #romance #georgian
“Walker sweeps you away to a time and place you’ll NEVER want to leave!” ~ NY Times Bestselling author Danelle Harmon
England and France 1784
Cast out by his noble father for marrying the woman he loved, Jean Donet took to the sea, becoming a smuggler, delivering French brandy and tea to the south coast of England. When his young wife died, he nearly lost his sanity. In time, he became a pirate and then a privateer, vowing to never again risk his heart.
As Donet’s wealth grew, so grew his fame as a daring ship’s captain, the terror of the English Channel in the American War. When his father and older brother die in a carriage accident in France, Jean becomes the Comte de Saintonge, a title he never wanted.
Lady Joanna West cares little for London Society, which considers her its darling. Marriage in the ton is either dull or disastrous. She wants no part of it. To help the poor in Sussex, she joins in their smuggling. Now she is the master of the beach, risking her reputation and her life. One night off the coast of Bognor, Joanna encounters the menacing captain of a smuggling ship, never realizing he is the mysterious Comte de Saintonge.
Can Donet resist the English vixen who entices him as no other woman? Will Lady Joanna risk all for an uncertain chance at love in the arms of the dashing Jean Donet?
My Review ~ 5 stars
Adventure, Intrigue and Romance
Echo in the Wind, the second book in Regan Walker’s Donet Trilogy, is a beautifully crafted tale, containing adventure, intrigue and a romance between a young English aristocrat and a French noble, unexpectedly brought together by smuggling. The novel, which transports the reader from the south coast of England to London, the English Channel, the Channel Islands, and beyond to France, is a captivating and fast paced read, sure to be a hit with readers of historical romance. I am familiar with Regan Walker’s work and if you want an entertaining and heartfelt read that is strong on historical authenticity, you need look no further!
I loved the character of Lady Joanna West, an independent and stubborn young lady who balks at the very idea of making a marriage with one of the nobles amongst the English ton. Her commitment to helping the poor on her estate is admirable, even if her methods – engaging in smuggling, are more than a little risky. Joanna’s clandestine activities with the smugglers catches the eye of Jean Donet, the former pirate and privateer who we met in the former book in the series To Tame the Wind (click on the title for the review). Although Jean is now the Comte de Saintonge, after his brother and father were killed in an accident, his real love is the sea and he enjoys the excitement and the challenge of championing free trade through his smuggling activities.
Their romance and the ensuing plot sweeps the reader away with its intensity. Donet falls hard for Joanna, the first woman he has had any feelings before since the death of his wife many years before. At first he struggles with his emotions, afraid to love again, lest he loses that which he holds most dear. Joanna in turn is drawn to the debonair Frenchman, so different to the men of the English aristocracy, yet is often confused by his actions and demeanour towards her.
Could she ever be anything more than a pleasant diversion as he remains devoted to the memory of his beloved first wife? There is also the age difference between the couple. Also how can they possibly have a future when he is firmly rooted in France and she in England? Moreover will her smuggling activities lead to her downfall? The couple have an emotional journey to make and my heart ached for them. Circumstances draw the couple ever closer and they are put in a position where they are both fighting a losing battle to deny their feelings for one another. As the Revenue and Customs net closes in on Joanna’s illegal activities and danger waits in the wings for Jean in France, both must learn to take a chance on love before their future can be secured.
Regan Walker’s attention to historical detail and her inclusion of real historical figures in the narrative – in this novel we see Pitt, Wilberforce, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette amongst others, adds considerable depth to her novels and puts her amongst the very best of authors within the genre. Although the romance between Joanna and Jean is very much central to the plot, here is also reference to the economic and social issues of the day both within England and France. I like that her characters do not exist in a vacuum and the wider issues and personalities of the day are explored as it makes for a far more satisfying read. The descriptions of life aboard ship and on the waves is also very realistic and it is clear that the author has carried out meticulous research.
Highly recommended to readers of historical romance.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
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