(Fiery Tales, #4)
Genre: Erotic Historical Romance (17th century – set during the reign Louis XIV’s Reign)
Inspired by the tale of Rapunzel, Lila DiPasqua offers a new steamy, emotionally charged historical romance in the acclaimed Fiery Tales Series . . . Rescuing this beauty from the ‘tower’ is only the beginning . . .
Maintaining her ruse as a commoner, and trusting no one has kept Angelica safe. But a chance encounter with a handsome stranger lands her right where danger lies. Now, this sinfully handsome man with arresting blue eyes and a polished manner thinks he’s saved her life, when in fact he’s placed her in great peril. She’s intent on keeping him and everyone else at arm’s length. Yet, the smoldering attraction between them is difficult to deny. And impossible to ignore . . .
As commander of a number of privateer ships, Simon Boulenger dresses and speaks like an aristocrat, and has obtained wealth. But he is still not a noble. Or an officer in the King’s Navy. His lifelong dream to elevate himself from his station of birth and attain a respectable place in society is dead. Worse, he’s ensnared in a deadly scheme, and must get out. But how is he to stay focused on his dangerous mission when the mysterious beauty has him utterly intrigued? He can’t afford the distraction any more than he can resist the carnal hunger she stirs. Simon soon discovers that she’s not only a passionate soul mate, but a woman born into privilege. A woman he can never have. But they’re in too deep. Their hearts are at risk . . . as well as their lives.
As with all the Lila DiPasqua books I have read, UNDONE is filled with compelling characters, sizzling love scenes, suspense and a passionate romance.
Simon is the sort of tormented hero I love. He is full of self-condemnation having realised that, in blindly pursuing his own driving ambitions to rise above his lowly origins, he had closed his eyes to what was happening to his own people…. ‘the destruction and devastation’. His life is a mess and he feels tainted by his association with the corrupt Superintendent of Finances, Fouquet.
Everything he’d done for his country and king, everything he’d worked for was now tainted. In blood.
Simon is an honourable man, willing to sacrifice his dream in order to save his men and bring Fouquet to account for his actions. His compassion shows in his condemnation of slavery and the way he has provided a home and work for so many desperate people.
He’d brought many families to Marguerite, at first only the crewmen’s families, then later, anyone who was in dire straits. He gave them employ in the fields. He gave us an opportunity to survive rather than to die in France.”
He is also just and fair when judging complaints brought before him. I love how cleverly he resolves the charge brought against Angelica by Père Crotteau.
Anglica is gentle and compassionate but also strong and courageous. It is that inner strength that enabled her to escape her loathsome step-father’s clutches ten years ago and find sanctuary within the walls of a convent.
She still bears deep emotional scars and a belief that no man could ever want someone like her. She has never been able to share her dark, shameful secret with anyone, even her close friend, Gabrielle. I love how Angelica demonstrates not only her compassion but also her bravery when she confronts the schoolmaster she sees brutally beating a young boy.
Instinctively, she swung around and struck him with an open palm across his face. “Don’t touch me! I am not one of these helpless children you enjoy mistreating.”
The sexual tension between these two is definitely explosive. Angelica finds Simon exciting and his mere touch stirs her senses while Simon is drawn to Angelica’s beauty, decency and bravery but their journey to a happy ever after is strewn with obstacles, not least their own closely guarded secrets. It was rewarding to watch Simon gradually demolish the walls Angelica has built around herself with his compassion, acceptance and understanding, inspiring her to take risks and find happiness and how Angelica makes Simon see the noble man he truly is.
“…you have sought to gain nobility, but you are noble. You don’t want to be ordinary, but you never have been. You wish to be exalted, but in the eyes of so many, you are.”
Be warned! The love scenes are very graphic and the language explicit and, if I have one complaint, it’s that they seem rather repetitive in content.
I really like Robert d’Arles, the nobleman who saved Simon from the streets and has always treated him like a son. He is an honourable man, willing to offer Angelica the protection of his name. I couldn’t help but feel heart-broken for Simon and Angelica when circumstances conspire to keep them apart but neither of them is willing to betray Robert. His word to Simon really touched my heart.
“You were my only family…You have made me proud…Raising you into the man you are today has given me a sense of purpose and fulfilment in my life…Simon…there is no limit to what a man can achieve except the limits he places on himself…”
Fouquet is a formidable enemy but his downfall rests with his sheer arrogance in underestimating the young King Louis.
Although I love the Regency era, the setting of 17th century France was refreshingly different. Ms DiPasqua brings to life all decadence and political intrigue of the Royal court and the inclusion of real-life figures like Fouquet and Louis XIV adds an extra level of authenticity to the story.
The Epilogue gathers everyone together on Marguerite island for a charming Happy Ever After.
My Verdict: If you enjoy a compelling story, fascinating characters and a lushly erotic romance, then I can definitely recommend UNDONE.
REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING
Read June 2015
Fiery Tales series to date (Click on the covers for more details):