Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 37.
- Review Date: 2006-10-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Drake turns out another fine historical in this Victorian murder mystery/romance. In the final years of Queen Victoria's reign, a series of murders of outspoken antiroyalists is stirring up hostility toward the crown—not a matter of interest to many young ladies of the 1890s, but gently reared orphan Ally Grayson is a serious writer who takes the matter to heart. That gives her something in common with Mark Farrow, the nobleman she abruptly learns she's been betrothed to marry since childhood, and also with an intriguing highwayman who waylays her coach in the woods; both men are looking for the killer. Ally figures out soon enough that the highwayman and the nobleman are one and the same, but as Mark begins to fall in love with his surprising bride-to-be, he insists on excluding her from his dangerous investigation. But Ally has a mind of her own and is determined to use it, no matter how great the threat to her safety. Bestselling author Drake, the pseudonym used by Heather Graham for her numerous historicals, keeps Ally's relationship with her aunts and godparents playful, forming an intriguing contrast with the grim progress of the murder probe, while satisfying romantic progress and rising suspense keep the book running on all cylinders. (Dec.)
Capturing a highwayman
Equally engaging is Ally Grayson, the heroine of Shannon Drake's winning historical romance, Beguiled. When Ally is kidnapped by a handsome highwayman on the way to a party, she spars with him long enough to make him laugh, and then he lets her go on to the party, where Allyunbeknownst to heris about to learn the identity of her fiancé. She's been promised to Mark since they were both babies, the result of a secret and powerful vow that must be kept. But now Ally, a writer with dreams of making her own way in the world, can't stop thinking about the dashing highwayman. How can she marry someone else? Meanwhile, a series of grim murders puts Ally, her highwayman and her fiancé, who is in service to the queen, in grave danger. Beguiled features the delights of the formwitty dialogue, a pair of lovers with intelligence and sex appealalong with mystery and murder.
Barbara Samuel won a 2006 RITA award for her novel Lady Luck's Map of Vegas.