Annaleah Fairchilde is a spirited lass who refuses to consider the suit of Lord Barrimore, a duke’s heir. For this impertinence she is exiled from her London Season to the isolated Cornish home of eccentric Great-aunt Florence. While walking on the beach, Anna discovers the unconscious, mistreated and nearly-naked body of a strange man.
Anna runs to Great-aunt Florence, who recognizes the man. He is Emory Althorpe, younger son of a local earl, a pirate, rogue and scoundrel, who is wanted for high treason. It seems that it was he who sailed Napoleon off of Elba, which makes him indirectly responsible for the Hundred Days and Waterloo. Since Florence was fond of Emory as a boy, she is determined to protect him. When he awakens and has no memory of who he is or where he has been, Anna is beguiled by him and joins in the conspiracy to keep his location a secret.
It isn’t long before Emory’s enemies – including Anna’s intended, Lord Barrimore – discover his whereabouts, and Emory and Anna flee across England, desperate to elude capture until Emory’s memory returns and he can prove his innocence.
I am not sure why, but this book did not grab me. The plot, bubbling with action, secrets and intrigue, is certainly a welcome change from the usual round of Almack’s and Hyde Park. Emory is a likable enough fellow and Annaleah is a believable combination of innocence and daring. But they never come across as real people to me. Throughout their adventures and their passionate courtship, Emory and Anna never succeeded in engaging my emotions.
Truly, the show is almost entirely stolen by the book’s secondary characters, Lord Barrimore and Great-aunt Florence, both of whom could have been the most boring of Regency stereotypes. Florence turns out to be an exceptionally clever and unsentimental schemer and a woman who, all her life, has done exactly as she pleased in spite of convention. As for Lord Barrimore, well, by the end of the book he had me thinking that he had been abominably ill-used and was worthy of better than Annaleah Fairchilde.
Swept Away is filled with intrigue, passion, high adventure, and not a little steamy sex. Unfortunately, I never warmed up to the main characters, so I can’t really recommend it. Strange, but this could have been a good book.