Governess Eve Merton would have fallen into serious trouble on her walk home if a handsome stranger had not stopped to help her. But when Mr. Vernon gives her a lift on his horse, he makes no secret of his attraction. As a well brought-up young lady, Eve does her best not to notice, but when he sets about courting her, she knows she’s in trouble. For she has a secret: she is the daughter of a deposed king, which means not only is she without a dowry, but also that her life is in danger…
Little does Eve know that Mr. Vernon has secrets of his own. In truth, his name is Julius, Lord Winterton, and he’s well aware that Eve is the offspring of the Old Pretender. In order to save his sister, he must convince Eve to wed—though he wants nothing to do with love. But as the two grow closer and an attempt is made on Eve’s life, Julius may realize that fighting his heart’s true desire is a battle most pleasurably surrendered…
This sixth book in Lynne Connolly’s Emperors of London series is one I –and I suspect other readers who have followed the fortunes of the titular emperors thus far – have been waiting for since fairly early on. Julius Vernon, the Earl of Winterton has appeared in all the previous books as a powerful but somewhat distant and enigmatic figure; heir to a dukedom, he is, in effect, the head of his large family when it comes to its many and varied business interests and political dealings. I’ve read the first four books in the series and have enjoyed them to varying degrees (somehow, I missed book five, Dilemma in Yellow Silk), and while it probably helps to have some idea of the background to the series, Veiled in Blue works well as a standalone.
I have to say up front that the romance has been the weakest element in some of the earlier books. These aren’t long novels, and looking back at my other reviews, I see I’ve made similar complaints about insta-lust and relationships not being allowed time to properly develop. However, I found the romance in Veiled in Blue to be much more successful, even though things do move rather quickly. But what has kept me coming back to the series in spite of a couple of disappointing books early on, is twofold: one is the fact that the setting of 1750s England is not a common one for historical romance; and the other is that Ms. Connolly’s overarching plot-thread of the search for the illegitimate children of the Old Pretender (the son of the deposed king, James II) and the political intrigue and tensions that were rife in England makes for an interesting backdrop to the personal stories of each emperor.
The series is set almost forty years after the advent of the Hanoverian monarchy, and there are still factions among the nobility who favour the Jacobite cause and are secretly working to restore the Stuarts to the British throne. It was revealed earlier in the series that there were in existence a number of children born to the Old Pretender, Charles James Stuart (son of James II) and a woman he had legally but secretly married. The legitimacy of these children thus poses a threat to the Young Pretender (also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie), who is attempting to track them down to dispose of them, while another Jacobite faction wants to find them and arrange marriages for them within their families so as to strengthen their own position and, possibly, gain the throne.
You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance