Nora Adams is a schoolteacher and a poor seaman’s widow–until the day she inherits a fortune and is sent to London to deliver a mysterious message to a foreign princess—who looks surprisingly like Nora. Once Princess Elena receives Nora’s missive, she steals Nora’s identity and vanishes. Left to fend for herself in ill-fitting royal shoes, Nora determinedly sets out in search of the royal escapee.
Nick Atherton long ago retired from his villainous life of piracy, but he’s dragged out of his role as fashionable fribble to protect the princess—rather, the impostor. Nick would far rather seduce the comely widow, but first he will have to dodge French spies and pursue misbehaving royalty.
For the fate of a nation and a princess, Devil Nick takes to the high seas again, but will his illegal exploits cost him the respectable woman who finally captures his heart?
Received from the publisher via Librarything‘s Early Reviewers August 2013 batch.
I dont know whether I’ve read too many historical romances recently – and therefore a little weary of the genre – or whether it was this book in particular, but I have to admit I was struggling to complete near the end. There are lots of twists and turns in the story, and the need to keep track of who knows what about whom.
10 years after retiring from the Navy (it’s late in the book before we get an indication of what really happened) and a time where he was a borderline pirate, Nick has set himself up as a ladies man, looking after his many younger sisters whilst he’s not trying to bed the latest piece of “tottie”.
He finds himself playing bodyguard to Princess Elena from a small European state, who has arrived unexpectedly in England and is reporting threats and blackmail from the French in order to secure her throne. On her first night in town Elena has managed to swap places with her cousin Nora, who knows enough about the family intrigue to pull things off for a day or two, and escapes to who knows where?
The next two weeks is a blur, with lots of physical threats, misdirections and moving around the South of England, as Nora continues to pretend she’s the princess, whilst people are on the search for the real princess.
It turns out that she’s been betrothed to a prince she doesnt want (but who seems a decent enough man in reality) by Bonaparte, despite being in love with someone else. This was her opportunity to escape in order to elope, whilst knowing that Nora would likely be able to pick up the pieces if she never returned. There are in fact 4 potential heirs to the throne, not one, and it requires the agreement of all to decide who is going to be the next on the throne.
Nora has been married before, to a Navy man and is also the daughter of another sailor. As such, and having spent several years as a widow on limited funds, she is able to do things that the women Nick has previously bedded would never have known about or done. He therefore realises that she’s the type of woman he really needs in his life. Nora realises that there is more to Nick than the wastrel flirt he’s made out to be, and he knows the right end of a sword too well. With Nora being a widow, it also means that there is little objection from either of them when they decide to do the down and dirty (which is on the clean side of things for once). It takes a conversation with Nick’s dying father to realise just how different Nick is from his society persona, and that perhaps he really is the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with.
In the end, everything is sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction, as is needed from a romance. This is number 3 in the “Rebellious Sons” series, and the first I’ve read. I dont know therefore, which characters appeared in the previous books, but suspect that several of the secondary characters in this book have appeared previously – many were lightly sketched to the point of non-existance in this book.
In Summary: decently plotted story, not too overtly sexual, but suffering slightly from the reader being over exposed to Historical Romances. I would read another book in this series (maybe even this one again) at another point
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