Barbara's Reviews > Knaves' Wager

Knaves' Wager by Loretta Chase
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's review
Dec 03, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, romance-goodies
Read from December 02 to 03, 2011

I need to track down a copy of this to own and re-read whenever I want to. And I expect to be re-reading this one a number of times.

What a delightful trip to Regency era England. Our two main characters, widow Lilith Davenant and Julian, Marquess of Brandon are opposites, of course. He's a devilishly handsome rake, just returned to England; she's known for her deportment and stern beauty--a model of correct behavior. She is returning to London to launch yet another niece(Cecily) during the upcoming Season. He's come to London to extract his young relative Robert from the clutches of Robert's scheming French mistress Elise.
Now the fun begins-Elise challenges Julian to a wager-the stakes? Robert's letters wherein he vows to marry Elise. The wager itself? Julian has 8 weeks to seduce Mrs. Davenant. If he succeeds, she will surrender the letters. (I know, I know--but Chase makes it work).
Julian sets out to (basically) stalk Lilith. He bribes her servants so that he always knows where she is. He always crowds her whenever they meet and so on. Julian lays on the charm; Lilith is not totally immune-but hates herself for even thinking about him. In the meantime (or maybe because of Julian's effect on her), Lilith becomes engaged to Bexley, a long-time suitor who is heavily into politics.
As the story unfolds we learn more about Lilith's unfortunate first marriage, her reasons for accepting Bexley and her very convoluted past history with Julian. Chase really shows her skill in Julian's transformation from a rake intent on seduction to a man in love.
Lest the whole book become too angsty, we get comic relief from the romance between young Robert and Cecily. Cecily is an absolute delight-poor Robert never knew what hit him.

Since this is a romance we are guaranteed an HEA. And it is a very believable one. happy sighs all around.

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