Etienne Blouin left Danielle de Cherbourg in tears, promising to return; he didn’t. Ten years later, Etienne learns she’s been widowed and left almost penniless. Now a wealthy ship’s captain, he offers to help her, but the only reply he gets is from her aunt telling him to leave Danielle alone. Convinced she’s in trouble, he determines to rescue her whether she likes it or not, even if it means losing her love.
Danielle is shocked to learn that her companion is going to the colonies, while she is to marry a cruel and powerful man as repayment of her husband’s gambling debts. Despondent, she sees no way out of the horrendous situation. When her carriage is waylaid and she’s kidnapped, she fears the worse.
Etienne has enemies who don’t want La Belle Rose to make port. Can he outfox them to save his ship and the woman he loves?
When Danielle de Cherbourg is just sixteen she hopes and longs for a marriage proposal from Etienne Blouin who is 5 years her senior. Etienne doesn’t believe himself good enough for her as she is of royal blood and he is the third son of a minor noble. His family tells him time and again how he needs to set his sights lower. He agrees even though he cares for Danielle greatly.
Etienne goes off to be a soldier and Danielle doesn’t see him for 10 years. In that time her parents die and her aunt and uncle marry her off to pay the uncle’s gambling debts. When Danielle’s husband dies she finds that he has a huge gambling debt of his own but her aunt has figured out a way to pay it – marry Danielle off yet again. During the years Danielle has written to Etienne asking for his assistance but he has never come to her rescue. This time when Etienne finds out about the possible marriage he realizes that he can’t live without Danielle and he can’t allow her to marry again. He stages a rescue and leaves France. Unfortunately their road is not smooth and they find they may not make it to their new home on Martinique.
This story started off really well with Danielle mooning over Etienne (as that’s what I have to call it as the girl’s just 16!) and him being pretty oblivious to her feelings. Yes, they are wonderful friends but Danielle wants more.
Ten years later Etienne is finally back in France and heads off to see Danielle. He offers his help to get out of the gambling debt that is from her deceased husband but she refuses his offer. She longs for him but never tells him how she feels. Once she realizes her aunts evil plans she writes to Etienne but gets no reply. She thinks she is abandoned. At this point I just wanted the girl to escape. Run away – fly, be free. But no, she goes along with the aunts plan and can’t think of another way out. Really? I was more than a bit frustrated that Danielle didn’t take matters into her own hands. She supposedly had the intelligence for it but it certainly wasn’t shown to us at that point.
Once Etienne saves Danielle and her friend Marie and they set said for Martinique the story got a bit slow. Not a lot was happening. Etienne was hiding himself from Danielle for fear that she would be mad at him for saving her. I was frustrated with him because whether she loved him or not he was her dear friend. I know he was mad at her for not responding to any of his messages but still. (FYI – the aunt was hiding his mail to her and vice versa) The story was…pleasant but even with threat of a spy on board the story didn’t move along. I found it to be overly descriptive and felt those parts were just added in for filler when it would have sufficed to say, “he told her about the people and customs of Martinique.” The end was a bit abrupt, imho, because there was no sex during the entire book and then bam! sex scene; The End. What? Totally gratuitous and unnecessary. I felt it would have been better served to show the couple pledging their love and then dreaming of the future. Don’t get me wrong, I love sex in books as much as the next person but only when it moves a story along.
In the end everything worked out and I was pleased with the overall result.
Rating: 3 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place