Desert Isle Keeper
Connie Brockway brings her Rose Hunters trilogy to a close with My Surrender. Readers grumbling about the dearth of serious historical romances – grumble no more. This is an intense and very satisfying book.
Charlotte Nash is the last of the sisters whose father gave his life in a French prison. Charlotte acts as companion to the daughter of the Welton family, and they treat her as another daughter. She has a reputation as a slightly naughty flirt who skates close to the edge when it comes to acceptable behavior. As she flits to parties, Charlotte keeps her ears open for information to pass on to anti-Bonaparte agents. Assisting her is Dand Ross, one of the young men for whom her father died (see My Seduction and My Pleasure for the backstory). Dand is sarcastic, and there are some who don’t trust his loyalty.
Ginny Mulgrew, courtesan and spy, is injured in a carriage accident as she is about to accept the Comte St. Lyon’s offer to become his mistress. This is not good, since St. Lyon has a document of extraordinary value to the anti-Bonapartists. Now that Ginny can’t get to his home to steal it, someone else must, and the only one is Charlotte.
In order to attract St. Lyon’s interest, Charlotte must not just skate close to the edge of ruin, she must jump off. So she asks Dand to pretend to ruin her reputation. They begin to spend much time together, and Charlotte and Dand fall deeply in love. But there are many lives that depend on her getting that letter, and Charlotte finds out that actions have consequences.
Charlotte is a wonderful character. She is motivated by patriotism and loyalty to her father – she could not bear to see his sacrifice be in vain – and so plays the role of the spoiled and silly flirt in order to get information to pass on. At first, she plays the spy and it’s a fun game passing on information. Charlotte thinks that taking Ginny’s place could not be that bad, and she plays at being ruined as she played at being the flirt.
But this time the game is not light and fun. She begins to understand what the consequences of her deception are when Lady Welton comes to talk to her. Charlotte plays the part of a woman who is ruined and doesn’t care, and when she sees the hurt and disappointment in kind Lady Welton’s eyes, Charlotte realizes that she can’t go back. And when she finally does get to St. Lyon’s home, she find herself and Dand in great danger.
Dand’s background is sketched out in flashbacks, and we come to know him as a passionate and honorable man. He conceals his true feelings for much of the book, but when he finally lets the mask drop, he is the essence of the true romantic hero. His relationship with Charlotte takes a bit of time to heat up, but when it does it is wonderfully sensual.
I loved the earlier books in this trilogy, and My Surrender brings the series to a wonderful close. I am going to re-read this series soon, since I know I will get a lot more out of it. Fans of good, meaty historical romances – don’t walk, run and get this one.