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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Friday, December 5, 2014

'Ballroom Waterloo...it was as much a hell as the battlefield he'd escaped.'

The Earl's Defiant Wallflower (Dukes of War #1) by Erica Ridley  

Oliver York, the now Earl of Carlisle, inherits a title that has nothing more to recommend it than that it is. His dissolute father has driven the estate into the ground. The only way to keep a roof over his and his dependant's heads is to marry an heiress.
He and his friends have returned from Napoleonic war. For some the damage is obvious, for others not.
Oliver and his gallant friends, more battle scarred than any thing else are quite a menagerie. There is Captain Xavier Grey who has retreated into a listless amnesia or possibly we would say post traumatic stress disorder. He appears unable or doesn't want to communicate, but his friends take him around to the various ton happenings, invariably ensconcing him in the library. This of course feeds into the plot. 
Then there's the Yankee, Miss Grace Halton who desperately needs to marry, preferably someone wealthy, so that she can collect her small dowry and bring her ailing mother to England. Grace's wicked grandmother attempts to foil all correspondence between Grace and her mother. Indeed Grace is so closely guarded on the one hand and yet left to run the gauntlet of ton parties on the other that the disconnect is surreally outrageous. Basically Grace is thrown into the battleground of balls and parties with no protection. She's sniped at, given the cut, disdained by the young ladies and leered at by the dissolute roué's of the ton. 
How is she going to marry successfully and rescue her mother without the desired entree of family and breeding?
Of course despite the fact that neither are suitable for each other, Grace and Oliver and we are aware of the electricity between them but their relationship is one that can never be.
An easy fun read.

A NetGalley ARC

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