Widowed Alexandria Sandal finds her Paris holiday cut short when war is declared between France and England in 1803. Responsible for her 19-year old niece’s safety, Alexandria tries to return to England by traveling at night in order to avoid the French authorities authorized to arrest all English. To complicate matters, an injured Paxten Marsett, also wanted by the French for a roguish, but not illegal act, manages to sneak into their carriage disguised as their maid. Problems multiply as Alexandria remembers feelings she held for Paxton ten years earlier when she was 30 and already wed to another. These old feelings and Paxton’s wounds cause her to make decisions that could endanger everyone as she helps them all elude the French army.
Donnelly’s research is subtly showcased in the period-appropriate apparel, food, and military activities. Other pieces of history such as the role of the Vendeans also meld well with the story, which is mostly a long chase scene interspersed with bits of romantic spark left over from Alexandria’s and Paxton’s tryst years earlier. The niece’s character provides humor, and her flirtation with a French officer makes one hope that further books in this series are forthcoming.
Lady Scandal is a spirited, entertaining romance novel that most romance readers will enjoy.