The Three Horsemen #3
Berkley Publishing, Oct 2007
386 pages, ebook, paperback, hardcover
The cover is typical of historical romance and this series. It shows a lovely lady dressed in period clothing against the backdrop of a garden. The simplicity of it helps to make it so eye-catching and draws you to it. The author’s name, Mary Balogh, is the second thing that will make readers pick it up. She’s certainly one of my favorite authors. When I bought paperbacks, I had a shelf full with her name on them. Now that I buy ebooks, I’m acquiring a whole section in my nook app for her books, too.
The story is a little bit unusual for historical novels. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it in a short afternoon. Having been the wife that followed the drum and knew the four handsome officers throughout the war was unique. Also unique was her husband’s secret and the reason she was being put in the position she was in. I saw the second marriage coming from very early on, too, but the author made it really fun watching it play out with her excellent characterizations.
First, we have our primary heroine, the widow of Major Walter Armitage, Sophia, Sophie to her friends. She’s always cheerful and friendly. She’s a little bit shabby, out-of-date, and attractive rather than pretty or beautiful. And she has a secret. Then we have the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as they were called, Nat, Rex, Ede, and Ken. The four majors served with Sophie’s husband and have now all sold out their commissions. Sir Rex Rawleigh is married to Catherine. They have two children already. Sir Kenneth Haverford is married to Moira and she is pregnant with their second child. Eden Lord Pelham is a notorious womanizer and swears to never marry. No has ever doubted his word on that issue. Our primary hero is Sir Nathaniel Gascoigne. He is single and escorting his sister Georgina and cousin Lavinia Bergland to London for their first season. Georgina is anxious to marry, but Lavinia would much prefer to remain single and get access to her fortune so she could lead her life the way she wants to. These four men caught the eyes and hearts of many of the wives who followed the drum in those days. While Sophie’s marriage had its secrets, her heart had secrets, too. Like it’s secret yearning for Nate with his soft gray eyes and sexy smile. But they were all just friends.
While Sophie’s husband saved the Duke of Wellington and a few other senior officers, he actually died while saving a young LT. But not all his secrets died on the battlefield with him. And LT Boris Pinter thinks Sophie should pay for what Walter did to him when he blocked his promotion. He’s found some of Walter’s secrets and he’s making her pay for them. But what are friends for? As hard as Sophie tries to keep her friends out of her business, they love her too much to leave her to the devil’s devices. The four horsemen gallop to her rescue.
The pacing of this book is really good. The author doesn’t waste any time sitting around twiddling thumbs. She puts good minds to work and they figure out what’s going on and work to fix things and gives everyone their HEA in the end! Between the blackmail and the relationships, the tension never lets up in this one.