When I think of what constitutes a superior historical romance, I think of real characters connecting on many levels with a believable setting that pulls me into the story and sweeps me along into another place and time. Judith James’s novel Broken Wing is such a tale; I was hooked from the first pages and found myself sighing with satisfaction at the end.
Set in France and England in 1800, Lady Sarah Monroe and her brother Lord Huntington have retrieved their youngest brother from a French brothel five years after his kidnapping. It is due to the care of prostitute Gabriel St. Croix that young Jamie escaped a dastardly fate, and the siblings’ gratitude is so heartfelt that they invite Gabriel to come to England with them. Once home, Gabriel and Sarah begin to feel an attraction that is both inappropriate and undeniable. After giving in to their feelings, the lovers are soon separated as Gabriel leaves to privateer to earn his fortune; fate intervenes and tragedy ensues.
Broken Wing is both well-written and compelling, and I found the pages flying by as I wrapped myself in the tale of the numb Gabriel being brought to life by the vivacious Sarah. Despite my misgivings over the cliché of Sarah, a countess, wearing men’s breeches, I found there was much to love about this story of two star-crossed lovers finding one another in many ways. Superior reading indeed.