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Posted March 17, 2003
Too much history, not enough romance.
It was a time of unrest. Sovereigns, diplomats, and ministers from all over Europe gathered in Vienna to reestablish order after years of war and upheaval. (In simple terms, everyone gathered to redraw the map after the depredations of Napoleon.) ............... Miss Helena Devereux was the stepdaughter of the Prince von Hohenbachern. She was in Vienna with her mother, the lovely Princess von Hohenbachern. The two women were different in their looks, as well as, their interests. While Helena was intelligent and kept very close tabs on politics, her mother was downright beautiful and wanted only to have fun again now that travel was no longer dangerous. The prince was not in Vienna. Instead, he remained with his armies on the Saxon border. .......... Major Lord Brett Stanford was in Vienna as Wellington's aide. He was a war hero many times over and was constantly on the look out for possible spies. Brett and Helena meet, learn they share views on politics, and become partners, of a sort. ......... ** No real danger or intrigue begins until shortly after the first 110 pages. Until then everything is setting up all the players, making sure the reader understands the political happenings, having Brett and Helena meet, and then begin to trust each other. Since so much is required to set up the plot of the book and the players, I found the first half of the novel very complex and often tedious to read through. I had to make sure I understood everything and everyone, which required much back tracking to re-read several sections to be positive I did not misunderstand something. The author did a wonderful job of explaining it all so that people, such as myself, who know little or nothing about the setting's era can understand it all. Yet I could not relax and just enjoy the story until the last half. I had to study history until then. ........ If you are looking for romance, light reading, or a bit of humor, pass on this one. However, if you are a European history buff you will adore this novel. **
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