STORMING THE CASTLE - Eloisa James
A Latter -Day Fairy Tale
HarperCollins E-Book Edition
Short Historical Romance
Lancashire, England, early Nineteenth-Century
For years, her family, the servants, everyone in the little town of Ha'penny have been telling Miss Philippa Damson how lucky she is to be the future wife of Rodney Durfey, who will some day be a baronet. He chose her when she was seven and he nine and he has never wavered since. Now the time has come; the first banns have been called. But no one has ever asked Philippa if she wanted to marry Rodney of the fat bottom. She suddenly decides she wants no part of this marriage. Her mother is dead, and it's no use asking her scholar father, Phineas Damson, Esq. He'd just force her to the church. The only choice she has to escape her fate is to run away. When she hears that the inhabitants of the nearby Pomeroy Castle are looking for a nursemaid for their baby who cries all the time, she believes she can help. Doesn't she love babies? Didn't she often accompany her doctor uncle on his visits? Philippa writes a note telling her father not to worry and disappears from Little Ha'penny.
Pomeroy Castle is the residence of Prince Gabriel Albrecht-Frederick William von Aschenberg of Warl-Marburg-Baalsfeld (whew, time to breath) and his English wife. Gabe and Kate's young infant has been doctored and dosed, but baby Jonas is failing. His parents are desperate. Philippa makes a good impression on them when introduced by their majordomo, Jonas Berwick, affectionately called Wick. (He is, after all, the half-brother of the prince.) And talk about good impressions, the handsome Wick certainly makes one on Philippa.
The first page of STORMING THE CASTLE made me grin. The last page of STORMING THE CASTLE made me smile even wider. I didn't count the number of pages in between that made me grin or smile, but they were numerous. At the same time, my heart went out to Philippa, who may have no title but is certainly a lady born and bred, and Wick, who is the son of the same grand duke as Prince Gabriel, brought up and educated as family, but his mother was not the grand duchess.
Likable characters who deliver great dialogue, plenty of inner conflict and suspense, and taut, elegant writing make STORMING THE CASTLE a highly enjoyable tale. About those characters: Gabe and Kate are the hero and heroine of Ms. James's last full-length novel, A KISS AT MIDNIGHT . Their amusingly outspoken great-aunt, Princess Sophonisba, is still present to deliver her outrageous pronouncements.
This new tale is a bargain at $1.99 and also includes an excerpt from A KISS AT MIDNIGHT and a teaser for the next full-length tale, WHEN BEAUTY TAMED THE BEAST, coming out late January 2011.
For a charming, entertaining, and heartwarming tale with a happy ending, I highly recommend STORMING THE CASTLE.