Stephan Kirton has been dumped - the lady in question having no ambition to marry the scarred, son of a Duke; while Belle had been abandoned by her betrothed, Quincy.
Belle held a secret flame for Stephan, but wants to be loved for herself, so it not thrilled that Stephan has decided to save her reputation and marry her. She takes
off to avoid this, but Stephan catches up and decides he shall carry her off to Scotland for a quick marriage.
It's a madcamp romp, with the couple ended up in one mess after another, even meeting Sweeny Todd along the way!
This report prepared by DeborahAnne MacGillivray
Leisure, Apr 2002, 5.99, 305 pp.
If life was fair and simple, Stephen Kirton would be happily married to a respectable lady. However, as far as Stephen is concerned life is unreasonable and complex so he knows his dream will never happen, as Polite Society will never accept a person born on the wrong side of the sheets let alone his commerce with the “lower classes”.
Instead, he seeks a night of revelry at the hedonistic Ormstead Park where he is shocked to see Annabelle Winston, an unattainable fantasy from his less complicated youth. They share drunken kisses at night, but that morning she rejects his proposal of marriage to avoid scandal. BELLE flees, but Stephen follows because he knows she is the one person who could bring happiness into his bleak dismal world.
BELLE is a warm historical romance though readers will wonder if the hero is a Regency adult or a disenchanted 1960s youth failing to score during the summer of Love. Stephen is the duel edge sword of the exciting plot. Readers will either moan along with him as a charmer who deserves the love of a good woman or tell him to get a life. Belle is an intriguing individual whose fall from grace contrasts with her letters to her mother. Melanie Jackson provides a well-written tale, but readers need to decide whether Stephen is an immature whiner or a misfortunate antihero.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner