A marriage begun in deception…
Feisty Julia Faircloth is used to managing the lives of her eccentric relatives, so when darkly dangerous Lord Sebastian Trevarre arrives in Bath and proposes to her shy sister Sarah, she switches places with the bride to save her from a shockingly carnal wedding night.
Against his better judgment, Sebastian consummates a marriage to the most provoking, appealing woman he’s ever known, and then is forced to live with her in his neglected yet enchanting estate on the coast of Cornwall. Life there is turbulent, not least because Sebastian keeps many secrets. Will his reckless pursuits succeed in restoring his fortune…or cost him the lady who holds his heart?
Step back in time to magical 1798 Cornwall, England, with Julia and Sebastian – and reunite with André and Devon Raveneau, as André discovers that his life and Sebastian’s are inextricably linked.
Rating: A for narration, B for content
Smuggler’s Moon is the first new book from Cynthia Wright in around twenty years, and is the first in a new series called The Raveneaus in Cornwall, set at the very end of the 18th century. Brother to a marquess, Lord Sebastian Trevarre has recently resigned his navy commission and returned to England with the intention of managing the horse-breeding business in Hampshire that he had helped his late mother to set up some years previously. But his brother has lost the bulk of the family fortune at the gaming tables, and Sebastian can think of only one way of amassing a suitably large amount of money quickly enough to enable him to achieve his goal. He repairs to Bath with the intention of gambling his way to solvency and meets with considerable success.
Not long after his arrival, he is unexpectedly confronted by Miss Julia Faircloth, who has discovered that her father owes Sebastian a great deal of money. Julia is one of life’s organisers and has spent most of her life managing the household because her parents were never able to deal with the practicalities of family life. There is a strong undercurrent of attraction between the pair from the moment they meet, but Sebastian recognises immediately that Julia is not the sort of woman who would make for an easy life. Which is why, following the sudden death of Mr Faircloth after he has lost his home and what little money he had left to Sebastian, the latter proposes marriage not to Julia, but to her timid sister, Sarah, believing she will make him a comfortable, docile wife who will allow him to do exactly as he pleases without challenge or interference.
Sarah is in love with someone else, and Julia, knowing her sister could never cope with a man like Sebastian, decides it’s down to her to find a way to keep a roof over her family’s head and to prevent Sarah’s marriage to a man who will make her miserable.
I admit, when I read in the synopsis that Julia tricks Sebastian into marrying her instead, I rolled my eyes at the idea. But Ms Wright actually manages to make it work fairly well, by setting up the scene in such a way as to make the possibility that Sebastian could mistake one sister for the other just vaguely plausible.
It’s only when the newlyweds arrive at Trevarre House in London that Sebastian learns the full extent of his brother’s recklessness. Not only has he gambled away the family fortune, he has sold off almost all his property and decamped to Italy.
You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals