A BRIDE BY MOONLIGHT – Liz Carlyle
Rance Wenham, Lord Lazonby is not the hero of this tale; he is however, the hook upon which our story hangs. Lazonby was twice prosecuted and nearly hung for a crime he didn't commit.
Lisette Colburne lost her mother at an early age, and later lost her father, her home, and her sister. She spent years with unloving relatives in Boston in America before returning to England in her mid twenties. All this time, she's blamed Lord Lazonby for the murder that set off her family's ruin. One of the first things she does upon her arrival is to storm into the office of Assistant Police Commissioner Royden Napier to rant at him for not doing his job by allowing Lazonby to go free. Neither ranting nor bribery offers move the man to action. She is wrong about her inability to move Napier, however; he's strangely affected by her. No matter if he agrees with her about Lazonby, there is nothing he can do but keep an eye out.
It will be two years before the two meet again as guests at a garden party in Greenwich. Again it involves Lazonby and a death, though it is unclear to Napier whether the death was murder, self-defense, or an accident. What seems clear, however, is that before the victim died, he confessed to the murder for which Lazonby was blamed. One of the witnesses is none other than the woman who came to his office. Though she looks different and calls herself by another name, Napier soon recognizes her. It's Elizabeth Colburne, who spent the last two years maligning and seeking vengeance upon Lazonby.
Soon after the incident at Greenwich, others duties call Napier . . . duties of family. His late father was estranged from his noble family, but now it looks as though trouble may be brewing at Burlingame Court, the home of his grandfather, Viscount Duncaster, and with the death of his uncle, Napier appears to be the new heir. Before he goes “home”, he's warned that he could very well find himself betrothed if he's not careful. He makes a bargain with Miss Colburne that if she acts as his fiancée, he will not look too closely at her recent activities.
Both Lisette and Napier are strong characters. Where she's volatile, he's stern and controlled, yet a powerful attraction links them, even though Napier has some doubt about Lisette's innocence in the latest death.
A BRIDE BY MOONLIGHT is connected to the contemporaneous St. James Society series; however, aside from a bit of minor palmistry, there is no magic involved in the plot . . . unless one believes that love is magic. What magic of love there is is amusing, serious, and powerful—and definitely sizzling—with two such independent and suspicious people as Lisette and Napier, who is now more rightly called Lord Saint-Bryce.
Ms. Carlyle's works are certain to thoroughly entertain, and this is no different, but reading some of the earlier books will add to the whole.