Splendor, by Brenda Joyce

Cover ImageFinished 8-19-08, rating 4.5/5, romance, pub. 1997

Brenda Joyce’s historical romances are always top notch and this is no exception.  It’s the summer of 1812 in England and Napoleon is on the move across Europe.  The Russian Prince, Nicholas Sverayov, is in London to broker a treaty, but he finds himself the target of malicious gossip.  Carolyn Browne, the daughter of a bookshop owner, is the anonymous columnist that writes about the foibles of the powerful and Nicholas is her latest target.  Nicholas finds her out and begins a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

Nicholas is married to a beautiful woman and while Carolyn knows this she is drawn to him and unable to stop herself from loving him.  Nicholas, for his part, is falling in love with Carolyn too, and offers her the job as companion to his young daughter which she accepts with trepidation.  As war continues, Nicholas must go back to Russia to lead his men to battle and the story moves to St. Petersburg and Moscow.  The setting and the history make the story all that more compelling.

There is no shortage of obstacles for the two of them.  Her father is embroiled in the war, but on the wrong side and her grandmother has entered her life after disowning her mother before Carolyn was born.  Nicholas and Carolyn are two great characters and I was sorry to see their story end.  Carolyn is smart, audacious and witty, while Nicholas is strong, powerful and smart.  If you like romances, especially historicals I think you’ll fall in love with Carolyn and Nicholas and their story.

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