Published July 10th 2014
My Rating: ❀❀❀❀❀
Genre: Historical Romance
The stunning prequel to Kindle bestseller The Illicit Love of a Courtesan!
Life is for grasping and living...
Naïve and innocent, Lady Ellen Pembroke falls for a dashing young army officer. Captain Paul Harding has such an easy, enchanting smile and his blue eyes glow; vibrancy and warmth emanating from him. She is in love.
In turn, the Captain finds his attention captured by the beautiful young daughter of the Duke of Pembroke at a house party in the summer. Finding Ellen is like finding treasure on the battle field. His sanity clings to her - something beautiful to remind him that not all in the world is ugly.
Ellen is someone to fight for and someone to survive for when he is inevitably called to arms in the battle of Waterloo...
I'm utterly devastated by this novel. I'm very glad I read it after it after The Illicit Love of a Courtesan because at least I can look forward and know the wonderful happily ever after that is in store for Ellen. Jane Lark penned a prequel that is full of emotion, innocence and great loss. It was beautiful.
In this prequel, we follow the story of Ellen's early life and love, with Captain Harding. It was easy to fall in love with this couple, they were both so young and even headed, so willing to take on the world and simply follow their hearts. I cheered for them. Here we see the beginning of Ellen's strength--used to obeying her father, taught to always be serene, never to show emotion, she begins to leave behind the life of a duke's daughter that she has been raised to, and to instead, follow her own heart. It took amazing courage for Ellen to follow Paul to Scotland so that they could be wed, and it took even greater courage for her to follow him so close to war.
|Book One in the Marlow Intrigues|
Paul is a character who struck me as somewhat broken. The war has left him with awful memories, but with Ellen he feels soothed. Ellen brings balance and light and love into his world, and I wish fate had been kinder to him. I loved his gentleness, his directness and bravery. He really saw how strong Ellen is, and that made me love him even more because he really saw Ellen.
There is a lot of loss in this novel. Loss of life, loss of innocence. In the days after Paul's death, so many awful things happen to Ellen...and I know more is to come for her, more sorrows and then finally happiness. But those days after Paul's death reminded me just how strong Ellen is--while the ending broke my heart, it also left me cheering for Ellen because it cements her inner strength so beautifully. Wrought with emotion, written with poignant style and delicacy, I left this novel in a turmoil of emotions and was once again reminded how much I love this series. I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.