Series: Legend of the Four Soldiers
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: May 1, 2008
The ton loves nothing more than a good scandal, and they're giddy with the appearance of wealthy Samuel Hartley. Not only is he self-made, American, and in the habit of wearing moccasins, but he is also notorious for fleeing a battle in which several English gentlemen lost their lives. What the ton doesn't know, though, is that Samuel is in London because of this massacre. He believes his regiment was given up to the enemy and won't rest until he finds the traitor.
Lady Emeline Gordon is captivated with Samuel. Not only does he defy convention with his unusual dress, his sensual smile, and his forthright manner, but he survived the battle that killed her beloved brother. Samuel suspects that the person responsible for her brother's death is Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale, a family friend since childhood—and Emeline's fiancé. Despite Emeline's belief in Vale's innocence and her refusal to break off her betrothal, she and Samuel begin a passionate affair. But can their relationship survive the fallout from Samuel's investigation?
Lady Emeline Gordon is astonished as a tall, devilishly handsome man strolls into a posh London parlor wearing a strange attire, and approaches her with the request for her to be his younger sister's sponsor in Society.
Of course, his sister's entrance in the aristocratic circles is merely pretense. Samuel Hartley is hell-bent on discovering the lowlife who had betrayed the English troupes six years ago, leading them to slaughter at the hands of bloodthirsty American natives.
Little do Emeline and Sam suspect that their bargain would soon turn into something more...
While the book started off strong with the quest for the traitor it quickly dissolved into a series of almost nonsensical events, mixed with male-sweat-smelling, rough (and at the beginning) non-consensual sex, midnight jogs in moccasins, and an extremely shallow heroine.
While the authors depiction of Emeline was probably an illustration of the aristocratic shallowness of that time, the attempt fell short and merely succeeded in making the heroine appear petty.
In the second part of the novel I just couldn't stand her anymore with her looking down her nose at everyone who wasn't her social equal and her snide remarks. She was horrible!
Sam, on the other hand, was your average HR hero with some added "bonuses" that made him stand out from the lot. I could've done with a little less sniffing, though.
The supporting cast was mediocre at best, the villain too easily spotted from the very beginning. The plot, though no overly slow, didn't offer much - Ms. Hoyt should've stuck with the initial story-line and build the romance around it to complement the whole and not let the romance take over. I might have closed an eye on that, if the romance was something to talk about, but like the rest of the book, that too was quite "uneventful" and mediocre.