I love the intensity that comes with star-crossed lovers whose loyalties clash on the battlefield, due to family ties, but whose hearts are in harmony.
Last week I got a lovely review from Two Lips Reviews of The Cavalier, my English Civil War erotic romance in which Elizabeth, my Puritan woman is confronted with the man she once loves when he storms her castle. He’s the second in command of the enemy Cavalier forces.
Elizabeth’s husband, a cold and driven Puritan whom she’d been forced to marry after giving up her true love, now wants to use his wife to entrap the Cavalier leader.
The trouble is, with war and past hurt entering the equation no one can trust anyone, and it’s all complicated by passion, poison and power.
Here’s what Two Lips had to say.
Eight years before, Elizabeth suffered numerous beatings by her father because she wished to marry Cavalier Charles Threthveyan. At last, when she realizes her suitor has given up and abandoned her, she marries the man her father has chosen, Puritan Silas Drummond, who has long lusted after her, though he’d never admit it. Now, Drummond is besieged by Royalist forces and Elizabeth and her husband are captives of Captain Reynolds, the King’s Man, and his second-in-command, her former suitor.
Striking a bargain with Reynolds to spend the night with both men in return for her husband’s safe release, Elizabeth doesn’t count on the response she has to Charles’ nearness. He swears he still loves her, asking for a charade of seduction to save her honor. Elizabeth agrees but can’t hide her own desire and soon their pretended lust becomes all too real. Or has it? Before his commander, Charles becomes the callous seducer. In private, he’s the protective lover she once knew. Elizabeth has been charged by her husband to poison both Charles and his commander. She goes to an arranged meeting bearing the vial containing the fatal dose, but will she use it on Charles and Reynolds, or on herself? Can she free her husband though it would mean losing forever the man she really loves, or will she once more try to fight for the chance for happiness?
Beverley Oakley has created in The Cavalier a short but intriguing historical piece, giving a great deal of insight into the war in which the Cavaliers and the Puritans participated. Even for such a limited length, the characters are well-delineated, and their aims and desires equally explained. Elizabeth is torn between wanting to believe Charles and keep her original assessment of him intact in spite of how she sees him now conducting himself.
Charles has to redefine his ideas of why Elizabeth jilted him in light of what he was told and what he now learns. The contrasts between the beliefs of the Cavaliers and the Puritans and the war they fought is defined and explained, and Elizabeth’s dilemma in meeting again her lost love, of whether to believe him or accept the public face he shows of the callous libertine is well set up. I’d definitely like to read a longer work by this author.
End of Review
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