Just a year or so ago, Julia was a lovely earl's daughter, celebrating her betrothal to David, the Duke of Temberlay and set for a life of elegance and luxury.But at her betrothal ball, she meets a stranger, a man who makes her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world—and when your fiancé thinks of you more as a little sister than a bride, that kind of attention can certainly turn a lady's head.Thomas Merritt is a thief with a secret past of his own. He attended Julia's betrothal ball to steal her jewels, but ended up leaving with far more, utterly bewitched by the beautiful, innocent Lady Julia. After their one glorious evening together, Thomas leaves London, knowing he can never be part of her world again.Julia's steamy encounter with Thomas Merritt changes her life. Now, she's no longer an earl's daughter (disowned), or a duke's bride-to-be (deceased). She's an outcast and a mere paid companion to a lady who used to be her equal.But things are looking up. She's on her way to Vienna on a breathtaking adventure, and her employer's handsome brother seems more than willing to overlook Julia's scandalous past. Love is in the air, dear readers!Julia and Thomas meet again in Vienna under most inconvenient circumstances during the great peace conference meant to determine the fate of Europe now that Napoleon has been defeated. All the crowned heads of Europe are in attendance, and at the lavish parties, salons, and grand balls, secrets lurk behind every fan, under honorable military tunics, and beyond every half-closed door, and Thomas is not the only thief in town. When Julia discovers a plot that could destroy her new life, Thomas Merritt is the only man who can save the day, and only she can save him from certain death.And at yet another betrothal ball, they meet again...
- Publisher: Avon
- Release Date: May 28th, 2013
- Author's Website
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Love it (not just for romance fans)
When I began reading this book I was thinking that I would like it just as much as I like all historic romance books but boy was I wrong!!!
In this book we meet a young debutante of English aristocracy Julia Leighton and we watch her making her way through an arranged marriage and a life that was chosen for her without her consent. As a young and naïve woman Julia wanted more of something that she couldn’t name; was it admiration, was it acceptance, and was it attraction she wasn’t sure at least not until she met Thomas Merritt.
Thomas was a rogue, an arriviste spending his life gambling, seducing women and stealing from them just like he intended to do with Julia. Charm her with kind words, dazzling her with his beautiful smile and stealing her mother’s jewelry.
As Julia’s life takes a turn of the unexpected we watch her interact with Europe’s most famous historical personalities as a hired escort of the sister of a young diplomat with England’s delegation for the peace summit after Napoleon’s defeat and exile.
The historical references were vast, almost all of Europe’s historical personalities make an appearance, the representation of the era, the reference to the most magnificent European palaces and the atmosphere where Austria (as an empire) was the center of all Europe knocked me of balance and I enjoyed it immensely!!!!
By the end of the book I had read a beautiful love story (not heavy on romance I might add) I had traveled in a magnificent Europe, I had met very important men and women and I had watched two characters grow, flourish and make the best of their circumstances.
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