What a wonderful, bittersweet romance.
Fans of Delilah Marvelle’s School of Gallantry series will absolutely love this romance featuring Madame de Maitenon, the spitfire woman who runs the school. This book is told largely about 30 years before the events of the other books in the series, but eventually jumps ahead to the reunion between Madam and her lost love, some of which we saw in Romancing Lady Stone. It’s such a great romance. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking that these two lost so many years together.
Madame de Maitenon met Andelot during the French Revolution. Only then, her name was Therese. She was a country girl with the desire to break free of her provincial life and find fame and fortune as an actress. Gerard was not yet the duke of Andelot, but the heir. Like so many of the aristocracy, his life was in danger. But he was different –1– because he always cared for the poor and –2– because he was on a mission to save his godfather, the king, from execution. It was on his journey to save the king that he happened upon the beautiful Therese and was immediately drawn to her.
The two quickly work out a deal that can benefit them both. She will be his spy among the revolutionaries, while he helps her realize her dreams on the stage and with riches beyond her imaginings. Neither wants nor expects love or commitment to follow, but love rarely shows up when you are looking for it. Unfortunately, these two live in troubled times that care little about their hearts or their futures. The story follows their journey that twists and turns through ecstasy and agony, and back around again.
I loved watching these two fall for each other. The emotion feels so real. As a reader, you know these two are meant to be, which makes their adversity so much more horrible. I give Marvelle credit for how well she crafted these characters and conveyed their emotions. The dialogue is good. The sex is hot. And the heartbreak is, well, heartbreaking.
The second part of the book focuses on their reunion. It’s a little hard to swallow just how easily they fall back into place. But honestly, reading the first half of their story, I wanted the HEA so much that I didn’t care. I wish the time jump didn’t have to be so long, but I know it had to work with how the story fit in to the other books.
If you haven’t read the other books in this series, you can still enjoy this one. But it will be better for longtime readers. I’m sad to see the School of Gallantry come to a close. It goes out on a great note, though.
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Duke of Andelot
by Delilah Marvelle
Release Date: April 10, 2015