Serena was happy at Staverley. She loved to roam the stately gardens of her family manor and dream of her future love. But then a cruel fate dealt her shattering blow. Her father was killed in a duel after losing her hand, her inheritance and her home in a game of cards. All this was now the property of the infamous Marquis of Vulcan-- a man whose reputation made it unwise for any decent woman to be seen in his company. A strange, cold man whose cliff top mansion echoed with terrible secrets. Serena could run, or she could bow to the will of the brooding stranger who held her father debt. Either way it meant dishonour-- and the end of her dreams.
(Image and Description from fantasticfiction.co.uk)
This is one of those very few times when I enjoyed the film version of the story way more than the book. I think it is because in the book there seems to be so much down time away from the hero and heroine. That being said it is still at the top of ‘Alex’s Favourite Barbara Cartland Books’ pile.
Check list time!
Arrogant hero – check
Slimy villain (who also tries to kidnap and rape the heroine (the dude is doubley evil!)) – check
Hero’s wicked, nasty, gambling, drunken mother – check
Heroines father (who was a gambler and did love his daughter dearly before dying) – check
So the above leaves us with an orphan Serena.
Heroine with a head on her shoulders and a faithful canine companion – check
And get this!
A Highway Man!!!!! (who is a good guy for his short appearance)
So, yip, a lot happens in this books. Serena is thrown from the world she knows and dumped into one of intrigue, balls, smuggling and secret passages. I felt really proud of Serena, she held herself together remarkably well and tried her hardest to handle things the best she could.
Lord Vulcan is not one of my favourite heroes. My main complaint is that he has a very heavy handles way of introducing himself to Serena. She had found out that she had been gambled away and her house was not hers and what does he do? He shows up, at night when she is in bed, with three of his friends. I am sorry but how inconsiderate can you get! The swine! I did warm to him as the book went on but that was a pretty big hurdle for me to get over.
“Is it not enough that I have had to suffer the indignity of being abducted? Of being touched and kissed by a man I loathe more utterly than anyone else in the world? Is it not enough that I reach home bruised and exhausted only to be bullied by you and insulted by infamous suggestions that I have been enjoying myself? I hate you! Go away and leave me alone! Leave me I tell you!”