BETWEEN TWO FIRES
Beautiful young widow Katherine Mannering vowed that no man would ever possess her. Her brief but brutal forced marriage left her with profound distaste for what went by the name of love.
But that was before she met Nicholas Seyton, a devilishly dashing highwayman who kidnapped her person and stole her heart. And that was before she met the infuriating yet attractive Sir Harry Tate, whose manner made her blood boil yet whose touch lit flames of passion.
The outlaw and the lord... Katherine knew so little about either, except that each taught her a different lesson in love -- and presented her with a more and more difficult choice....
Who could have been the author to tempt me to finish my break in reading traditional romances?! Mary Balogh, of course… I don’t know why, but I was never tempted to read this book, and I had it for quite a while… I think it was the suggestion of masquerade in the title and the fact that the hero passes himself for 2 different persons that put me off…
Anyway, I read it and I’m glad of it. Something about the plot: well, you have the heroine, who works as a companion for the daughter of an earl who is terrified of highwaymen (the daughter, that is). The heroine, Kate, has been married to a somewhat nasty character who choked on a bone and died (yes, I don’t know why that’s funny, but it is) and she claims that she doesn’t want nothing from men from now on! On the road to the family’s estate, she, her employer and her brother, are held up by a highwayman, who abducts Kate believing she is the daughter of the earl.
The highwayman is of course the hero. Nicholas Seyton, wearing a mask and a wig. He has been wronged by the earl and asks for some answers – hence the kidnapping. He doesn’t get too fierce in his role and somehow manages to tell Kate all about his life and sufferings, she believes him and offers her help. They meet now and then, he is always using his mask, and they start and affair and concludes in a one memorable night of smuggling and making love!!! That’s fine of course, it could happen in romances , but exactly the next day the hero arrives at the earl’s estate as a different man, Sir Harry Tate. A very interesting character, actually the best in the book, and my personal opinion is that for him only it’s worth reading it. The heroine doesn’t recognize him and every time they meet, sparks start flying. He is quite obnoxious, really . Anyway, the rest is for you to discover…
It was an entertaining read, sometimes funny characters, not such a clever plot, but the strongest point were the nice dialogues. As a proof of that, I really have to show here, one of my favorite scenes, with Kate and Harry:
“G-go away then!” Kate said crossly on a shuddering inward breath. “I am not looking for your sympathy. And I would not be crying now, sir, but that I had a sleepless night and have not been feeling quite the thing today. I never cry.” She blew her nose loudly in the handkerchief and glared at him out of reddened eyes.
“Hm,” he said. “Quite disgusting. Your nose and your eyes vie over which are the redder. I do believe the nose wins because it also shines”
“Oh!” Kate stamped her foot crossly. “I might have known you would not have an ounce of gallantry for a poor female in trouble.”
“Now, think a moment, Mrs. Mannering,” he said on a sigh. “If I had taken you in my arms and held your head against my shoulder and crooned soothing inanities into your ear, do you not think you would still be bawling? As it is, your emotion has been converted to anger, and your chin and cheeks have perhaps been saved from the same fate as your eyes and nose”
In the end, it is worth reading for fans of the genre, but only if you’re willing to ignore the big white elephant in the room – the fact that the heroine has an affair with 2 different men, never knowing it is actually one single person.