Title: The Lady Flees Her Lord
Author: Michèle Ann Young
Published in October 2008 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Regency, Historical Romance
Other Books by Michèle: No Regrets, Brides of the West, Christmas Masquerade
London, April 1811
Lucinda Palgrave, Countess of Denbigh, lifted her ear from the cool wood of her husband's adjoining chamber door. She wanted to laugh out loud. To twirl. To yell, 'No Denbigh!' A delightful evening free of his presence stretched ahead. It was a giddy sensation, like drinking too much champagne. And utterly inappropriate. Fingers pressed to her lips, she glided out of her bedroom and into the hallway."
She has to get away. She has no idea what Denbigh has in store for her, but among his reprobate friends is the Duke of Vale, one of the most powerful and wealthy peers of the realm. Lucinda doesn't have any definite knowledge about what goes on at these parties Denbigh throws, only that she has absolutely no interest in attending them or becoming the latest of their playthings. She is scorned and battered enough by her husband, put on diets she can hardly digest, kept away from friends and family, and treated like a meanial and worse. Lucinda bears the scars and bruises of her abusive husband, and she is determined to leave, to get away and go as far as she can. Thanks to her father, she has had a small income, an allowance which she managed well in spite of her husband's attempts to wrest it from her. It is a meager amount, but she has always had a fine hand and a mind for investment and business. She has always helped her father with his investments, and her nest egg is growing slowly but surely. She has a "man of business" to handle things for her, one who gained respect for her asture financial acumen, and agreed to handle her affaires discretely. She only wishes she had a bit more, but the most recent conversation with her husband and Lord Vale have convinced her she had to move, and do it soon.
Bleydon offers her peace and quiet, a small house she can call home, and safety from Denbigh and his corrupt cohort. It was quite an adventure getting here, and in the process, she acquired a small child, one whom she named Sophia. The little girl is a blessing to Lucinda, and has accidentally aided her in her plans to remain unnoticed and disappear. It is one thing to hide as a single, childless widow, but with a child... Since Denbigh declared her "a barren cow" to one and all, noone would be likely to look for a woman with a small daughter, and suspect it to be Lucinda. Things would just be toddling along quite well if it hadn't been for her encounter in the woods. The lord of the manor, Lord Hugo Wanstead has returned from the continent, and the battle with Napoleon. Captain Lord Hugo Wanstead is a huge bear of a man, much like Lucinda's own father. He is odd, a strange man who hides a deadly secret buried deep within his soul. Lucinda senses something sad about Hugo, but cannot fathom what would cause a man to sequester himself from his friends and neighbors. Driven to try to help him, she slowly draws Hugo back into the life of the the village that has languished with his father's death.
Wounded in body and soul, Lord Hugo Wanstead, former Captain but still Earl of Wanstead returns home. With him comes all the nightmares of the war, things only made worse by all the pain of remembering his failures here. Hugo is still suffering from a gunshot that refuses to heal, the badly inflamed leg causes him constant pain, soemthing he cannot let others know about. He refuses to appear weak to anyone, and hides his pain behing a bottle of brandy. His is not the coward's way out, it is just that the doctor had not known why the injury would not heal, why the leg throbbed so, and for that reason he was discharged form the service. He had no recourse to return home, but he still feels guilty for survivning what many did not. His heart, however, is knocked for a loop when he encounters the widow who has rented and moved into the Dower House on the estate, Hugo is badly smitten. Due to events in his past, over which he had no control, and blame put on him that was not his to bear, Hugo tries desperately to stay away from the lovely widow. he believes himself an inherent and deadly danger to any woman, and as such, has sworn never to marry again.
Life has other plans for Hugo, and the longer he is forced to be around the woman, the more he likes what he sees. Her daughter is a sweet precocious child, happy, carefree, and thrilled about life. She is vivacious and a vibrant bit of colour in his here-to-fore drab world. And the mother, a tall, rubenesque beauty haunts his dreams. He denies himself the knowledge of his attraction to Mrs. Graham, hoping that in the denial it will disappear, cease to plague him, and allow him to moulder away in his self-imposed solitude. Too late he realizes she will not allow that to be, and Hugo is swept, again, into the life of the village. From their first confrontation, that about the condition of houses of the tenet row where only the Drabets are left, to her insistence on his allowing the village fete be held on the manor grounds, Hugo is inundated by Lucinda, her scent, her personality, and her nature. Not only that, but she is determined that he care for himslef as well, and has the audacity to tell him to see a doctor about his badly inflamed and painful leg. Oh yes! He is fighting a losing battle here, and the heavens know, a veteran soldier like Hugo should know how to pick his battles...
Michèle Ann Young takes us into a world where woman didn't hold a great deal of power when it came to certain things. Regency England is truly a man's world, and only the truly clever women can survive in it at all. At least that is the "common knowledge" and not something a timid but determined Lucinda Palgrave is anxious to buck up against. But as things go, the plans her deviant and abusive husband has for her are intolerable, and Lucinda will have to get away fast. When opportunity knocks, she is more than ready to slip into the night, with no one the wiser, and leaving not a whisper of a trail behind. As for Hugo Wanstead, he was not but a bump in the road, but as it happens, a very attractive one. Lucinda was a bump for Hugo as well, for he carrries a secret and an agony within him which has him afraid to love. Not only has he lost his mother to pregnancy gone badly, but his wife as well. He has been told by his fahter it was his fault, and the fault of his inherited tendencies that killed the women he loved most in his life.
The Lady Flees Her Lord by Michèle Ann Young brings the richness of country living, the horror of the war with Napoleon, and the debauchery of some of the ton to the fore in a story full of delightful scenery, rich characters, and desperate situations. Being true to form, Michèle gives us an intimate glimpse into village life, and into the heirarchy of the countryside society. This story is definitley a must buy, so head on over to Barnes & Noble, Aamzon, or Sourcebooks' Casablanca Romances and get your copy of The Lady Flees Her Lord by Michèle Ann Young today. It is a must buy, expecially of you love a good Regency Romance.Yours in good reading,
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