Leisure, Feb 2003, 5.99, 308 pp.
In 1827 England a thief sneaks into an aristocratic home to steal a chest. He is caught in the act and pulls out a gun to bluff his adversary. However, everything goes further wrong and he accidentally kills his opponent before fleeing into the night. Worse, he lost one of the two gold keys needed to open the chest.
Sebastian Merrick vows to bring to justice the assailant who killed his cousin. He has one of the keys to the only stolen object, a chest that contains a chalice. His investigation leads to France with Reynaud Andrassy as the killer. Sebastian abducts Reynaud's stepsister, Isabelle Saint-Simon. As the jailer and the prisoner fall in love, he remains adamant that he will bring down her beloved sibling and to do his duty by wedding his cousin's widow though he knows he will give up the only treasure he wants to hold.
A TREASURE TO HOLD is an exciting late Regency romantic suspense that is filled with plenty of action, but mostly focuses on the relationship between the two lead protagonists, or perhaps in this case for the most part antagonists. Though plenty of action occurs, the theme of the tale is simplistic: duty vs. love. Sebastian feels obligated to his cousin and his family while Isabella shares his ethics especially concerning her stepbrother. Though the finale is tied together too perfect, historical readers will appreciate Kathleen McCarthy's enjoyable novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner