Naughty or Nice
Though she bears the title Lady Francine Fitz Hugh, Fancy is not
the modest, demure maiden one might expect. In fact, our initial
encounter finds her in the very unladylike garb of a street urchin,
rifling through the pockets of a passed-out drunk. From the very
first page, the scene is set for this rollicking historical romance
--- with the emphasis on "romance."
After losing the last of her family, Lady Francine is left alone to
shoulder the burdens associated with caretaking her crumbling
familial estate. She is forced to consort with petty smugglers and
thugs just to scrape together enough funds to keep hearth and home
together. While their advancing age limits them, loyal family
retainers Jaines and Olinda do their best to help her while Fancy's
best friend Rosalyn is there for support as well. But all together
they are no match for Rosalyn's dastardly stepbrother Calder, who
is bent on claiming Fancy, her title and estate for himself. Enter
the handsome hero Lucien Kendall, a match not only for the evil
Calder but also for the fiery Fancy.
Her brother had appointed Lucien Kendall as guardian of Lady
Francine when he lay dying of wounds sustained while under
Kendall's command. Lucien travels to visit his charge and sparks
begin to fly between them. The ensuing story blends the best
elements of farce and romance, with a healthy dose of horror
stemming from drug addiction that could be taken from the front
page of today's tabloids. Despite their deceptions and dark
secrets, the cast of characters is likeable and the author takes
excellent care of them.
As a new writer in the crowded field of historical fiction, Melanie
George is making her mark and we look forward to many more like
NAUGHTY OR NICE.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding, a substance abuse on January 12, 2011