Mary Penley and Kit Stansell were secret friends at a young age, and that friendship evolved into love, and then elopement, against their families’ wishes. Derbyshire neighbors, their families were miles apart in social standing; he from a proud and noble family, she from a wealthy ale maker. They live in unruly and restless bliss for less than a year before their hedonistic lifestyle catches up with the pair, culminating in a mutual separation.
Now, nine years later, at a chance (or was it) meeting at a posting inn, Kit and Mary share a passionate encounter, though the pair go their separate ways by morning. The past nine years have made Kit into a brilliant military officer, while Mary has traveled aimlessly throughout Europe with the likes of Byron and Shelley. Kit could not have predicted that the military would be “the making of him”, and yet, he is prepared to take up a position in the Home Office to uncover a conspiracy. Mary is returning home to assist her widowed sister and is gearing up to be at the center of a scandalous divorce so she can settle down to a peaceful and staid life with Matthew Bakewell. She is soon to be caught up in a pending uprising that may endanger her life.
The pair still shares different views, but when a government conspiracy is uncovered, they must join forces to stop the threat. In the midst of political intrigue, Kit and Mary discover that their passion has never died, in fact, it has strengthened over the years, and each must decide whether or not their love can survive. Provocative and lush, The Slightest Provocation is a richly detailed historical read. Told from both Mary and Kit’s points of view, the reader is able to understand the emotional impact of this story. Fast paced political intrigue involving unrest in the country following the war, laborers’ clandestine meetings were vividly portrayed.
Scorching sexual tension portrayed the love between Kit and Mary as only Pam Rosenthal can. The fierce desires of both Mary and Kit were so well drawn, I felt as though I were a voyeur at their clandestine meetings. I highly recommend this story to one and all Historical fans. Bravo!