Once Upon A Romance

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Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady by Diane Gaston

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Cover art: Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady
Author: Diane Gaston
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-65494-9
Release Date: December 2009
Genre/Sub-genre: Regency Romance
Year/Setting: London, 1814
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Diane's Website: www.dianegaston.com


Jack Vernon fought hard for his country. He still suffers the recurring nightmares of what happened in Badajoz, Spain. He witnessed things no human should ever see, let alone do to one another. Now that the war is over, he is now an up and coming artist who started painting to rid his mind of the images of war. Turning to portrait work, he hopes to support his mother and sister. When he is commissioned to paint the actress, Ariana Blane, he knows his future lies in how her portrait is received by the ton. Itís the key to gaining well-paid commissions from the gentry.

Too bad Ariana is the woman who haunts his dreams. A brief encounter a few years prior set the stage for both of them. They each long to reunite with the other and this appears to be the opportunity to explore the passion they feel for each other. Unfortunately, the commission is paid by Jackís motherís loverÖwho is looking to put aside Jackís mother for the favors of Miss Ariana Blane. Jack is sickened by this and knows he must keep his distance from Ariana.

But, putting two Ďartistsí together for long periods of time leads to verbal and mental acrobatics. When Ariana and Jack finally give in to their attraction, it can only be described as a beautiful rose opening to a full bloom. Their lovemaking is poetry, but the consequences could become deadly. I loved how passionate both Jack and Ariana are. Itís their artistís hearts that gives them such a passionate nature. As their romance budded and developed, it was delightful to watch how their individual artistic sides (acting and painting) complimented each other. Instead of two temperamental artists, we ended up with passionate people who let their artistic passion spill over into all the areas of their lives.

While the story is truly a romance, there is a little bit of intrigue sprinkled from the first page to the last. Itís the mystery that really heightens the story. I was never sure how things could change and as events unfolded, I was drawn even further into the story. The only complaint I had was that the first chapter was so exciting and when it ended, the next couple of chapters seemed slow or dull in comparison. But that is only a minor issue to the story overall. After that impression of slowness, the storyline picks up and from there on out I was totally engrossed with the story.

I found Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady to be a story that looks at the Regency period in a whole new light. Seeing everything from outside of the gentry was a delightful new twist that was refreshing.

Robyn

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