With her latest release, Cheryl Sawyer solidifies her reputation for romance that weds emotional conflict and historical events. As Napoleon Bonaparte escapes Elba, a French-born soldier is undergoing a court martial in England. Jacques Decernay serves in the Chausseurs Brittanniques, a British regiment of captive French soldiers. His activities first aroused suspicion on the other side of the world, in Sydney, where some of his compatriots deserted and escaped.
A witness—Sophia, the widowed Lady Hamilton—testifies on his behalf, saving his life. Both she and Jacques recall that brief early encounter, and not only because it coincided with a crime. Sophia, a devoted mother to her young son, lost a husband to warfare and yearns for peace. Moreoever, she fears that facts about her husband’s death were concealed from her. His officer cousin Sebastian is her staunch admirer and occasional confidant—but a woman from his past poses as much a threat to their relationship as Sophia’s attraction to Decernay. Mystery leads her to the Prince Regent’s pleasure palace at Brighton, and scandal forces her back into seclusion at her country estate. After Decernay unleashes her passion, all happiness is slain by his subsequent betrayal of her trust. The lovers are unexpectedly reunited in Brussels, where Sophia hopes to solve the mystery and Decernay must carry out the mission to which he dedicated his life. The battle of Waterloo, depicted in vivid detail, seals their fate, and Sebastian’s.
Hardly the standard Regency spy romance, The Chase will appeal to fans of fine writing, vivid characters, and well-drawn history.