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Source: Bought from library sale
Back Cover Blurb:
To Sir Gideon Landor, an English prisoner in the French colony [on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius], Delphine Dalgleish, a Parisian trifle who would think nothing of turning him over to the French legion, is as pretty--and as useless--as a porcelain doll. To Delphine Dalgleish, Sir Gideon is an ice-cold double agent she despises for his treachery.
But these two are about to discover how wrong first impressions can be. In the midst of the Peninsular War, Sir Gideon has orders to crack the Grand Paris Cypher, a complex code created for Napoleon. Meanwhile the emperor himself sends Delphine to London on a delicate espionage mission. When Gideon and Delphine confront each other, they manage to defend their dangerous secrets, but not their hearts. As passion takes hold, they must decipher their own complex code of love...
And still war draws them inexorably to the Peninsula, threatening their lives and testing an alliance that may prove stronger than two empires...
The book is a historical romance set in the early 1800's. The historical side of the story is well-developed, and the problems in the story come from the events happening at the time.
The characters are well developed and act in realistic ways. The pacing is good, and every scene serves a purpose. There is a fun "Pride and Prejudice" type proposal scene near the middle of the story. There are no explicit sex scenes, but the main characters do have sex after they're married. I'd rate this as "good, clean fun."
Excerpt: Chapter One
"Escaped prisoner!" On a hot night in July 1810, the news sped around the capital of Mauritius and sent a frisson through the veins of its inhabitants. Captain General Decaen might well run the island as though it were the tightest ship in the Indian Ocean, but this was a time of war, and the English fleets hovering over the horizon created a powerful sense of menace around the remote Bonapartist stronghold. Rodriguez was already occupied by the British, Bourbon had fallen only a week before, and it was to one of these islands that the prisoner must have been aiming, for having silenced two sentries he reached the port unseen and swam out to snatch one of the French navy pinnacles in the harbor.
Delphine Dalgleish, at her family plantation of Saint-Amour, received a hasty note from a neighbor about the escape, and read it with consternation. The prisoner was English, and enemy, so she should not care--but she did. It was too close to home. The soldiers of the legion had been just in time to retake him, he had been mauled by four men-at-arms and he was already in solitary confinement by the time society rose and took its chocolate and sweet rolls in the warm light of the next morning, but the shock of it stayed in the mind. With one dramatic gesture, this young British officer had shown how different he was from the other prisoners of war, most of whom lived amongst the French colonists in a spirit of understanding. He had acted with a violence and speed that ran counter to the ordered island ways, which was why his treatment by the legion had been so vicious.
It was three days before he was brought back to the Maison Despeaux, the Garden Prison from which he had broken out. He was scarcely able to walk. He had not spoken a word under interrogation, nor a syllable since. Only Delphine Dalgleish knew who had betrayed him to the legion, and she told just one other person, so no one else knew what to think. Which made a visit to the Garden Prison de rigueur at the earliest opportunity.