Forever a Lady
Harlequin HQN, Jul 24 2012, $7.99
In 1822 in New York, bookkeeper Richard Rawson embezzled a fortune from the Milton newspaper. He spent it all on gambling and whoring before fleeing town; however, his horse misstep while still in Manhattan and fittingly he broke his neck. He left behind a financially and emotionally broke father who fears for his son Matthew’s future as an ostracized fallen one.
By 1830, no longer possessing a silver spoon, Matthew has lived in the Five Points slums as a vigilante and a thief of sorts. He has to go to London where he meets Lady Bernadette Marie. The widow plans to do what she wants to do including a tryst with an unacceptable American as she does not care what the Ton thinks. She is attracted to Matthew, who flaunts society as a rule-breaker. As they fall in love, she offers him a chance to climb out of poverty and violence if he accepts her belief that he is worthy of her.
The key to this wonderful historical romance is the vivid violent description of life in an 1830 slum in which Les Miserables perform Jean Valjean-like illegal deeds. The romance is top rate as she becomes his inspiration to better himself while she sees him as a first chance at life. Readers will root for this couple to make it Delilah Marvelle marvelously writes a strong nineteenth century tale (see Forever and a Day).