PUBLISHER: Warner Vision, 5/1996
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1811
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: A-
FROM PUBLISHER: Under the cloak of darkness, Lady Tess escapes, a lone rider fleeing from her diabolical cousin-only to fall into the hands of ruffians who rob her of her jewels...and her memory. Then in the shelter of a wayside inn, she meets the man the centuries and the fates have prepared her for. From the moment the coldly handsome Nicolas Talmage, Earl of Shelbourne, lifts his dark eyes to hers, they are drawn together, spellbound, into each other's arms, and into a night of passion that claims her innocence and melts his heart. But Tess refuses to become his mistress. Enraged and yet unable to let her go, Nicolas takes her to an old cottage on the outskirts of his estate. Here, in a place haunted by whispers from the past, they will discover Tess's true identity, a tangled web of family secrets, and a magical love that can transcend the boundaries of time and space...
MY THOUGHTS: I really liked this and it reminds me of books published in the 80's. Tess is twenty-one, with red hair and violet eyes. She was raised by her aunt, Hester. Her uncle Sidney died recently and his distant cousin, Avery, has inherited everything. He's out to make Tess his but she's having none of it. He holds her aunts and her prisoner but she escapes and looses her memory after she's attacked. She makes her way into an inn and is mistaken by the owners as someone they're expecting. They also think she's a prostitute, as does Nick.
Nick is thirty-two, with black curly hair and dark brown eyes. He doesn't believe she's lost her memory. He thinks she's poor and along with her family is trying trap a wealthy man into sleeping with her so he'll have to marry her. That couldn't be further from the truth, but he doesn't know it. There's not much backstory on him.
I like the way they bicker a lot. I can't stand when hero and heroine get along great from the start and there's never any conflict. Boring! They've got chemistry from the start. Though Avery's a villain, I like him and think there should have been more of him physically in the story, not just in the beginning, and not just in conversations.
The time span is only about two weeks which is ridiculous, really. They're in love and married in that short time. I don't know why the story couldn't have spanned several months, at least. Nick's older sister, Athena, is deranged and hateful but we don't really find that out until the end. She was nasty from the start but I liked her.
The only thing I didn't like about this story is the plot about Nick's grandfather and his old diary from seventy years ago. I found all that stuff to be absolutely boring. I found the Avery's-out-to-get-Tess storyline interesting as well as the whole Tess/Nick meeting at the inn to be interesting...and Nick trying to catch smugglers too was interesting to me.