Read with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Stokehursts, Book 1
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero: Lord Luke Stokehurst
Heroine: Lady Anastasia Ivanovna Kaptereva
Date of Publication: January 1, 1995
Started On: March 23, 2010
Finished On: March 24, 2020
Another winner by Ms. Kleypas, this romance focuses on a heroine from Russia, a princess nevertheless that reminded me of the cartoon Anastasia that I adore so much. Princess Anastasia is on the run for her life, after being framed for the murder of her fiance’, a happenstance that Tasia has no recollection of whatsoever.
From childhood Tasia has been labelled as a witch because she could foresee certain elements of the future of people who were close to her. Now a woman of great beauty with a mysterious aura surrounding her, Tasia flees to England after escaping the death penalty by faking her own death.
Fate lands her eventually as the governess of Emma Stokenhurst, Lord Luke Stokenhurst’s daughter from his first marriage. Emma is an awkward girl in her teens, badly in need of female companionship and understanding of the subtle and the not so subtle changes taking place within her as she moves onto womanhood.
From the start, Emma takes a strong liking towards Tasia towards which Luke has mixed feelings. Knowing that he wouldn’t allow Tasia to stay for more than a month in his household doesn’t make him any less immune to the tug of attraction that flares unwillingly between the two.
Luke has no room in his life for a wife. Having lost his childhood sweetheart and the only woman he has ever loved to a tragic death, and having his own scars from the tragedy to deal with, Luke is quite content with his mistress on one side and his daughter on the other front until Tasia comes along and knocks everything haywire in his life.
Its no surprise that ultimately these two succumb to their attraction and Luke proposes to marry Tasia knowing the story of how Tasia might be a murderess. However that doesn’t stop Luke from professing to protect her from Prince Nikolas, brother of Tasia’s murdered fiance who has vowed to find Tasia and bring her to justice no matter what.
Ultimately Nikolas does find Tasia and takes her back to Russia where she is kept captive at his residence until the date on which she is to be hanged. Nikolas forces Tasia to remember what took place on the night of the murder and this unblocks Tasia’s memory so that she is no longer ridden with guilt over the murder knowing well enough who is responsible.
Luke follows Tasia and Nikolas to Russia and claims his wife once again. Through all this Ms. Kleypas keeps the romance and sensual encounters between Tasia and Luke going which makes this romance more worthwhile. Finishing this novel has made me want to read the Prince of Dreams, the story of Nikolas and Emma once again. Since their story begins in this novel, I think I might like their story better the second time round.
Most probably will post a review for that story pretty soon.
Caliber Seal: GOOD READ!