I read book one (Sanctuary for a Lady) almost two years ago, loved it, and picked up book two and three in the series in that time....and never read them. So COYER reading list came in handy to give me the motivation to keep reading the series. The thing is I was not in the mood for the tropes found in book two (known via the blurb on the back), so I skipped to book three.
This was quite the ride.
First, that cover. The heroine (Danielle) is giving the hero (Lord Halston) a look of "I'm going to kill you" and/or "I'm going to screw you so hard" and I am here for it. Plus the background of a spooky wooded area at nighttime is very atmospheric.
Second, Dani is a heroine to root for - she is smart, capable, and can read and react to other people to get out of dicey situations (and there was plenty of dicey situations). Dani is the niece of the book one's couple and the daughter of book two's couple, so she was raised in the aftermath of the French Revolution/Reign of Terror and the first Republic; her upbringing included how to survive in political/social unrest as well as in the woods. Dani takes no BS and doesn't give out any either. She is not a Mary Sue though; she is quick to temper and can be petty at times with certain British aristocrats. But I love a good capable heroine and Dani was awesome.
Third, the book takes place in 1805 in the woods of France; just as Dani was helping the merry band of English aristocrats get to the coast and sail away back to home, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor (bye, bye republic) and the peace treaty with British is broken. So not your typical Regency romance. Dani, with the help of her brothers and dad, help Halston and crew make it back to England. This on the run/evading capture plotline was a real page turner.
Fourth, Halston and crew. Halston was quite the decent hero and his falling in love with Dani was sweet but also realistic. Also, being the third son of marquis gave him a little more leeway with being in love with Dani, a French peasant (or is she????). He was determined to make her his wife, even if that meant moving to America. Westerfield (Halston's brother) may have been sick 90% of the book, but even he knew enough to look deeper at Dani's history to help his brother get the girl. I like that Halston's valet was the voice of reason between Halston's and Dani's fights about class structure.
Fifth, the sexual tension was pretty intense for Christian romance. Just enough kisses and touches to believe in the chemistry between Dani and Halston, but chaste enough for them not to go against their religious beliefs. You can bet your last dollar Halston didn't wait to read the banns and instead got a special license.
Overall, another winner from Naomi Rawlings. Can't wait to read book two.