This is an Official Review by an Eye On Romance Official Reviewer
for Heiress Without a Cause
Date of Review: 06/26/12
The lady is rebelling. She has a dual life. The question will very quickly becomes; who will discover her?
Lady Madeleine Vaillant is half French and an orphan. Just before her parents died she was taken to England to live with her aunt and cousins. Madeleine often feels lonely even with those in the household. She also feels much resentment that her parents stayed to protect their property rather than flee to safety. She has a need to act on the stage and has been encouraged by her cousin, Amelia, who writes books and her other friend, Prudence, who paints.
Madeleine does not merely think about it but performs Hamlet in a little known theater in Covent Garden. She is spotted by the Duke of Rothwell and then begins another masquerade. Madeleine wants to stop her performances as the risks is too great. She is blackmailed into continuing by the theater owner for another four weeks. So she and the duke come up with a plan to minimize the risk of her true identity being known. Madeleine does find out her true worth to the family when she is discovered by her aunt and male cousin.
Ferguson, Duke of Rothwell, has more money than he knows what to do with. He has a reputation as a rake but burned his bridges in London ten years before. He escaped his dysfunctional family and a relationship to live in Scotland. He gained the title when death came to his father and brother. He also longs to return to Scotland and live in relative obscurity. Ferguson seeks Madeleine out at a ball and asks her to chaperone his twin sisters, after all her reputation is above reproach, for the season. He can’t ask his older sister as there is scandal attached to her name. He also must find a way to repair the relationship between himself, his older sister and the twins.
The two lives collide when Ferguson realizes that Madeleine is none other than Madame Marguerite Guerrier. He needs to do something to protect Madeleine/Marguerite and they plot for Marguerite to become his mistress, in name only. All the while the ‘mistress’s’ house abuts her usual home and she is able to sneak between the two. All seems well until Marguerite gives up the stage and Ferguson is accused of killing Madame Guerrier. But is one more appearance worth the risk of others finding out and ruining Madeleine’s reputation?
This was certainly different type of story. Our heroine is actually on the stage rather than the just dreaming about it. The disguise fools most people except our hero who then does what he can to protect her. I liked the different twist that our heroine actually went on stage and that she had this delicate balance between her ton life and life on the stage. A very enjoyable read.