What makes a book great? Believable characters, a fast paced plot, a satisfying ending and a well-written story. Brazen Angel by Elizabeth Boyle hosts an entire cast of believable characters, from the leads right down to the walk-ons. The story moved as such a quick pace that I could scarcely draw breath. As I turned each page, I could hardly wait to discover what was going to happen next. The ending was so perfect, the story so well written, that I found myself quite envious of Boyle’s skill as an author. This book is definitely a favorite.
Lady Sophia D’Artiers is not what she appears. The daughter of a French aristocrat, she risks her life posing as a revolutionary named La Devinette to save her family from the guillotine. She raises money to insure her family’s safety by stealing from the lords and ladies of London society. There, among the glittering throngs of English society, she is known as The Brazen Angel. No man is too dangerous, no risk too great – until she comes face to face with Giles Corliss, Marquess of Trahern.
Giles is hot on the trail of The Brazen Angel. Despite the fact that she robbed his best friend, he feels strangely protective of the dangerous seductress. From the moment of their first meeting in a crowded ballroom, to the moment he discovers she is also the French spy he believes responsible for the death of a good friend, he is completely obsessed with her. So obsessed that he does not recognize the third of her many disguises – that of his sickly fiancee.
Sophia flees to Paris on the eve of her wedding to Giles. Thinking his intended is a homely, frail creature, Giles is all too happy for the chance to chase the Brazen Angel to France and postpone his dreaded nuptials.
Brazen Angel was a one-sitting read for me. Once I got started I simply could not put it down. I loved it. All the characters are so completely three dimensional. The secondary characters are so wonderful that they even manage to steal the scene from the hero and heroine once in a while – but not too often. Giles and Sophia are incredible characters. Giles is strong without being overly arrogant, and Sophia is a wonderfully independent woman, yet not afraid to show her feelings for Giles.
What I loved most about the book was the complete equality shared by Giles and Sophia. I didn’t feel like one character overpowered or bullied the other. The fact that Sophia often wins their battles of will is balanced by the fact that Giles is either one step behind or one step in front of her throughout the entire book. Some of Sophia’s victories are smug and others are more hollow, but her grim determination to save her family is always the driving force behind her actions.
Elizabeth Boyle has definitely delivered a winner with this book. I’m looking forward to the sequel, which is apparently about Sophia’s younger sister, Lily. Fortunately, Brazen Heiress is due out next January, so I won’t have to wait long.
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