Author: Eileen Dreyer
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group
My synopsis/thoughts: We meet Jack as the book opens on the battlefields in 1815 Belgium. We learn that he is trying to get back to his family to explain something, but that is about it.
Olivia, as the title proclaims, is 'barely a lady'. She had once been married to Jack, but he had thrown her out and promptly divorced her. Over the course of the book you learn all the details as to how this came about. Olivia's current situation is tenuous as her current employer has fled the country and a new acquaintance, Lady Kate, has taken her under her wing. Olivia has been living under an alias since her divorce and believes that if Lady Kate (a duchess) finds out who she really is she will send her packing. Kate is no ordinary duchess though and tends to look for the scandal or create it herself!
Olivia finds Jack on the battlefield almost dead and his ex-servant begs Olivia to help him. It has been 5 years since he threw her out and she is not sure if she should help. In the end though, she does, and the fun begins.
When Jack finally wakes, he has amnesia and does not remember the last 4-5 years. He sees Olivia and thinks they are still married. He doesn't understand why she tries to stay away from him. We get bits and pieces of his past as his memory returns. Olivia and the staff are forbidden to tell him what year it is as they are afraid it would cause 'brain fever' and kill him. The doctor thinks he needs to remember things on his own to get a full recovery. Meanwhile, Kate is playing matchmaker and trying to get the two of them to admit they love each other - or at least convince Olivia as Jack still thinks they are married.
This is no ordinary historical romance though - we also have a killer called the Surgeon, and his henchman Axman Billy looking for Jack. The Surgeon is called the Surgeon because of his love for knives - I think you get the picture.
I enjoyed this story for a couple of reasons - First, it wasn't your boy meets girl, they annoy each other, true love reigns in the end. It was boy and girl were in love - love was disrupted - and should they really end up back together? Second - in the historical romance books that I have read you usually don't find yourself with a character like the Surgeon! I thought he was a nice twist. Third - while there was some mention of society and the ton - this was not a big part of the book. A good portion took place within the confines of Lady Kate's house.
This is the first of a series of books called Drake's Rakes - Drake is Marcus Beldon, Earl Drake - and I am not sure at this point who he is - other than he seems to carry around a lot of power. Jack had been working for him - so am going to jump out on a limb and say that all the books are going to center around someone who work's for Earl Drake. Second book in the series is called Never the Gentleman and is due out next spring while book three - Always the Temptress is due out next summer. You can find out more about these books at http://www.eileendreyer.com/.
~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for my review.~
I currently have three copies of this book up for giveaway here.
Barely a Lady
Publisher/Publication Date: Grand Central Publishing, July 1, 2010