Hugh, Viscount Daventry, was two days late for the Comtesse
d'Avignon's fête because of the unrest he experienced on his
way to her château. The Comtesse's sister and mother asked
Hugh to beg Angelette -- the Comtesse -- to come home to
England as they fear for her life. Alas, Angelette has paid
no attention to politics since her husband's death. Like the
rest of the French aristocracy, she does not believe that
harm will come to them. Reality hits her hard when her ball
is violently disrupted by the rebel mob, and she has no
choice but to flee with Hugh and hope to stay alive.
TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN is the first book of Shana Galen's new
Scarlet Chronicles and prequel to the extraordinary
IN HER ARMS. I am not usually overly fond of historical
romance novels that focus heavily on historical matter, but
TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN is the exception to that rule. The
reason being that the author has achieved a perfect blend of
history and romance, as we watch the French Revolution erupt
and Hugh and Angelette are caught right in the middle of it.
I cared about them because both characters are beautifully
drawn and also because Ms. Galen conveys the feeling of
urgency with exceptional clarity, with cinematic
descriptions that give the reader the impression of seeing
the events unfold.
Although TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN is a novella, it is as rich as
a full-length novel, with heart-stopping action and a
romance that is both passionate and tender. The romance
happens within a short time frame, but still felt genuine
because of the immediate danger they are facing. There are
also fabulous secondary characters; Sir Percy Blakeney is a
most charismatic presence, and I couldn't help thinking of
the marvelous Leslie Howard, who played the Scarlet
Pimpernel in the old black and white movies. TO RUIN A
GENTLEMAN is an outstanding book, possibly the best Shana
Galen has ever written, and I do believe The
Scarlet Chronicles will cement Shana Galen's
reputation as this astonishing book is more than a romance
within a historical context, but a true historical romance.
Angelette, the recently widowed Comtesse d'Avignon, only
invited Viscount Daventry to her country house party as a
favor to her sister. When the handsome British lord
arrives—two days late—he's full of unnerving tales of
unrest and violence in Paris. Angelette assumes it's all
exaggeration...until her chateau is attacked and her life
threatened. Daventry rescues her, and the two are forced
to run for their lives. But when danger closes in, will
the viscount stand at her side or save himself?
Is not the one you've been told.
Hugh Daventry visits France frequently to import wine for
the family business. On his way out of the country, he
stops at the comtesse's house party out of obligation.
But after meeting the raven-haired beauty, he tries to
persuade her to leave France with him. When the peasants
attack, he realizes he's already too late, and now he
must protect Angelette, whose sharp tongue is far from
angelic. Too soon the couple is caught up in the rising
revolution, dodging bloodthirsty mobs, hiding from
soldiers, and embroiled in the attack of the Bastille.
Hugh wants nothing but to leave tumultuous France for the
calm of England. He knows Angelette is intelligent and
resourceful—a survivor. But can Hugh survive without her?