As the Reign of Terror tears Paris apart, a dandy and a spy are thrown
together on a desperate race through France.
In the darkest days of the Reign of Terror, rumors grow of the Star of
Versailles, the most exquisite treasure ever owned by the doomed Marie
Antoinette. For Vincent Tessier, the notorious Butcher of Orléans, this
potent symbol of the ancien régime has become an obsession and he’ll stop at nothing to possess it.
When Alexandre Gaudet arrives in France to find his missing sister and
nephew, the last thing he expects is to fall into Tessier’s hands. With
Gaudet tortured and left for dead, salvation stumbles accidentally, if
rather decorously, into his path.
For Viscount William Knowles, life as a spy isn’t the escape he had hoped
for. Yet a long-held secret won’t let him rest, and the fires of Revolution
seem like the easiest way to hide from a past that torments him at every
Adrift in a world where love, family and honor are currencies to be traded,the world-weary Viscount Knowles and the scandalous Monsieur Gaudet have no choice but to try to get along if they want to survive. With Tessier in pursuit, they search for the clues that will lead them to the greatest treasure in revolutionary France—the Star of Versailles.
Paris is in up roar as the Reign of Terror is here, people are dying by the minute and those that have been spared or have escaped are terrified for what could happen next. The feared “National Razor” is working over time and the evil Robespierre is raining terror down on all in his path. Alexandre Gaudet is a foppish playwriter, who has returned from England back to Paris to find his sister and his nephew, who have had to go on the run as the reign of terror hit Paris hard. They are running for their very lives as it is said that they know the where about of the Star of Versailles, the beautiful and rare diamond that once belong to the ill-fated Marie-Antionette. The evil Tessier or “Butcher of Orleans” is on their trail and he will stop at nothing to get his hands on the Star.
Gaudet is captured by Tessier and after being severely tortured he is facing the dreaded “Razor” but luck is on Gaudet’s side as he is sent to be interrogated by Yves Morel one of the most vile and murderous men in Paris, but this “Morel” is actually British spy William Knowles. Brooding and secretive William save’s Gaudet’s life and with just one clue to where Gaudet’s family and possibly the Star of Versailles is, our unlikely duo set off on what will become a deadly game of cat and mouse in a dangerous and bloody time.
Catherine and Willow have a gift of creating interesting and realistic character’s that just stick with you long after the last page, whether that be the lead character’s William and Gaudet or the secondary ones such as the brilliant spymaster Dee or untrustworthy Sylvie. But the real star’s of the show has to be – apart from Gaudet’s too cute Poodle; Papillion – the boy’s themselves. They are the most unusual pair that I have come across for ages, Gaudet is flamboyant and egotistical and just hilarious whereas William is quiet and brooding and serious. They really are chalk and cheese, but yet they work.
And with Alexandre Gaudet in his crimson coat, laughing with that shriek and carrying a white poodle, we can not hope to be invisible.
“Do you ride?” William asked Gaudet, hoping the answer would be yes. “Horses will carry us to the coast, if so.”
“At Versailles, I was feted for my equestrian skills. I do not ride, I excel.” Gaudet preened his hair for a moment. “And you shall see only my fine derrier, disappearing into the distance.”
“That is a delight,” he told Gaudet with a sniff, “that I shall manage to live without.”
“I will have you know that the fineness of my bottom has been discussed in parliament.”
“Well,” William stated, “they do tend to struggle to find matters of interest.”
It is a different take on the tried and tested Historical Romance, but I have to say that the ladies’ have successfully created a loving and tender story that is full of emotion. They have got William’s confusion over his sexuality down to a tee, it’s beautifully done and very sensitive. The way that William struggle’s with his growing feeling’s for Gaudet is so heartbreaking really, you are just willing him to cast off his doubt’s and take the plunge because as eccentric as Gaudet is, he is a good and caring man. He can see what William is going through and ever so slowly he tries’ to draw the real William out.
Catherine and Willow’s work as cowriter’s is just getting better and better, I really enjoyed The Crown Spire but this one; The Star of Versailles llase it just shines. One of the many thing’s I love about Historical Romance is the history part, I like delving into and learning about the era and The Star Versallaise has beautifully interwoven fact and fiction, it’s imaginative and cleverly written that it take’s us on a thrilling romp through a brutal and deadly era, you get a real sense of how awful that period was.
Catherine and Willows work is strong and entertaining, I can’t wait to see what these two talented ladies have in store for us next. The Star Versailles is a pure joy to read and highly recommended, a definite must read for all Historical Romance fan’s.
This was an ARC version from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.