Jove, Oct 2001, 5.99,400pp.
Irish aristocrat Lord Edmund Neville Fitzgerald wears a mask to cover a scar that mars his visage. However, at night he wears a mask, stealing money from his peers and giving it back to the poor like a Robin Hood hero. The local aristocracy loathes Gentleman Niall. In a card game with Lord Wentworth, Neville wins the Kilmara estate, but must marry his opponent's daughter Elizabeth, to whom the land is entailed, to gain the land.
Lady Elizabeth travels from her home in Ireland to meet her new betrothed Neville in Ireland. Nasty highwaymen attack her coach, but Gentleman Niall rescues her from the vile thugs. Elizabeth finds herself attracted to her savior, but knows she must marry her intended Lord Neville. When she meets her fiancÚ, Elizabeth realizes he is Gentleman Niall, who does not trust his new spouse as his enemies have hired a bounty hunter who believes Elizabeth can identify Gentleman Niall. To his chagrin, Neville wants his wife who loves him with all her heart.
The lead characters and the support cast feel genuine and the fast-paced story line is loaded with action.
However, the attraction between Neville and Elizabeth takes a long time to start and even longer to connect, leaving the audience to wonder if the novel is historical fiction with a touch of romance instead of historical romantic suspense. Still, the tale is well written for those historical fans that enjoy a strong plot with the romance serving as a secondary vehicle.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner