MOONSTONE OBSESSION – Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Etopia Press – www.etopiapress.net
France has declared itself a republic, though King Louis remains on the throne. There are many Englishmen who fear the revolution will spread to England…and some who hope it will. One who works against that end is Sir James Mitchell of Peventen in Cornwall. He works with a group headed by the Prime Minster. He's also constantly harassed by his mother who has picked out a bride for him to provide the baronetcy with an heir.
Miss Selina Rosewall accompanies her brother William to a ball given for Sir James. William is a ship's owner and captain who needs connections—and hopefully a sponsor—to build up a merchant fleet. The Rosewells meet Sir James; a bargain is struck between him and William, and James and Selina enjoy several dances, much to the displeasure of his mother and the lady who aspires to be his wife. In an attempt to put Selina in her place, James's mother arranges for her to companion his grandmother, Lady Margaret, for the summer. This doesn't work out as she plans, for Selina and Lady Margaret come to like each other, and James and Selina get to know each other very well . . .
MOONSTONE OBSESSION's 450 or so pages has a complex plot that starts out slowly with lots of description of dress, places, architecture and the like. Action and suspense pick up when centered around villains and foul schemes, as well as the ongoing love interest. The characters are well done, with a likable hero and heroine and many interesting minor actors. The pre-Regency, pre-Napoleon setting seems authentic to this Regency reader, though critics might wonder about the accuracy of James being called Lord and at the waltz being danced so early; otherwise it's a good read if you have the time to get into it.