When I first saw the cover of this book, I thought: Oh, puh-leeze. And indeed, deep, this book is not. However, if you’re looking for something rather frothy and generic, look no further. The Indigo Blade is the tale of a pre-Revolutionary War aristocrat who, by day, is the rather foppish, non-political Max Broderick, but who, by night, is transformed into – ta-daaaaa – The Indigo Blade, a disguised avenger of wrong-doing.
But Max is not without his problems. Born a bastard, Max is the youngest son of a wealthy British aristocrat. Max has always felt the brunt of his illegitimacy, which is why he came to the embryonic America to make his fortune, and set his future. When Max meets the beyond-lovely Penelope Seton, and learns her uncle is about to marry her off to Max’s worst enemy, he sweeps Penelope off her feet and marries her within the fortnight. I like a hero who knows what he wants, and Max wants Penelope from the first second he sees her. He falls hard, and stays hard, uh, I mean, stays in love with Penelope from that moment on. Even through her betrayal.
You already know the story. The Indigo Blade is another rendition of “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” or “Zorro,” or any one of a dozen other similar milquetoast-dandy by day, courageous-hero by night tales. Of these, however, my personal favorite tends to be Daffy Duck’s rendition of “The Thhhhhcarlet Pumpernickel,” but that’s just me.
The problem arises (as it does in all the other versions of this story) when Penelope begins to fall in love with her husband’s alter-ego, not knowing the two men are in fact, the same. Torn between duty to her own country and catching what the British consider to be the “bad guy,” Penelope must decide where her loyalties lie. Adding to the problem is Penelope’s cousin, Mary, who has a vengeful, jealous streak as concerns Penelope, and plots to ruin both Penelope and Max.
The prose is a little purple at times (or maybe even indigo), and the plot is nothing new. All versions of this story are basically based on One Giant Misunderstanding, whereby, if he had told her who he was from the beginning and trusted her, and if she had talked to him and asked him what was going on, Max and Faith wouldn’t have moved through the story with such a sense of self-righteous betrayal about the other.
A problem I had was, even though Max believes Penelope has betrayed him, he continues to make love to her, passionately, then stomps away spouting cold and hurtful words. I don’t like a nasty hero, even if his emotions, he feels, are justified.
So, if you’re looking for a quick read and a few lusty love scenes, The Indigo Blade won’t disappoint you, but that’s about all she wrote.