From the back of the book:
“Mademoiselle Marie-Rouge’s bewitching gray eyes widened with shock. King Louis’ minister had made his offer very clear: Rouge must become a spy or else her beloved father would be thrown in debtor’s prison. She chose to flee into a storm-swept night away from the golden court at Versailles and the intrigues that threatened her life…In a miller’s cottage she found a stranger–a brazen, daring man who claimed to be a simple peasant. His arms sheltered her, his kisses intoxicated her more than royal wine, and his desire showed her a paradise no riches could buy. Would he forgive the girl who took his sweet love tonight–only to run from his heart tomorrow?”
4 1/2 stars
Lousia Rawlings, the writer of such greats as Stranger in My Arms and its sequel, Wicked Stranger, was a masterful author. It’s unfortunate she no longer writes wonderful historical romances in the truest sense of those words.
(Edit: she’s republished her novels as e-books, so now there is no excuse for anyone not to read her!)
France and Versailles under the reign of Louis XIV was a decadent, lavish era, and Louisa Rawlings captures it perfectly in Stolen Spring. Her dedication to historical details (like the nobles having to salute the King’s food as servants carry it throughout the halls), the depth of emotion, and the colorful cast of minor characters transform this book into more than just an average historical.
Marie-Rouge, daughter of a Comte, is blackmailed into spying for France in order to keep her gambling father out of prison. Along the way, she captures the hearts of many men, notably Pierre, a peasant miller who is not all what he seems. This man of mystery opens Marie-rouge’s heart to love.
I liked Pierre, a tortured yet sensitive man, although the villain, Arsene, almost overshadows him a bit with his rough sensuality.
Final Analysis of Stolen Spring
Marie-Rouge doesn’t meet the hero until about 80 pages into this 467-page epic, and they’re separated for various durations. That’s fine by me; as I said, Rawlings is an excellent author, and she takes time to build the story. When the two main characters are together, the sparks fly!
Not a perfect book, but so enjoyable it’s a keeper I expect to read again in the future!