Harlequin Historical #157
The Sequel to My Personal Favorite Romance
As I’ve said before, author Louisa Rawlings (aka Sylvia Halliday) wrote exquisite romances. She penned the sensational Stolen Spring, which took place during the era of Louis XIV. Wicked Stranger by Louisa Rawlings is the sequel to one of my all-time favorite books, Stranger in My Arms.
The Hero, the Heroine, & the Plot
Noel, this books’ hero, is the devil-may-care twin brother of Adam from Stranger in My Arms is as different from Adam in temperament as they are as similar in looks. Noel is a flirt, a charmer who always sees the positive in life, and prefers to live without responsibilities. Adam is broody, quiet, gruff, duty-bound, awkward with women, and suffers from the horrors of the Napoleonic wars as he was a general, while Noel was a mere corporal.
Noel Bouchard is in New York after living in France. He’s looking to make his way in life, and meets the elite Babcock family. The Babcocks have several daughters, one being the lovely, yet prickly, Elizabeth, whom Noel is strangely drawn to.
The heroine of Wicked Stranger, Elizabeth, is at times shrill, mean, insecure, and ill-tempered. At first, I thought she didn’t deserve such a great man. She’s part of a well-to-do New York family and was hurt by love in the past, by fortune seekers who wanted her money and not her, so now she hates all men, especially men looking to advance their income through marriage.
Perhaps it’s because he sees the hurting soul beneath her tough exterior and just wants to make her happy, but for some reason, Noel falls for her, and hard! He pursues her relentlessly. Lucky, lucky woman. *Sigh!*
There are some twists and turns in this book: for example, Noel briefly pretends to be his brother, Adam (just like Adam had pretended to be Noel). There are deaths and a duel, and reconciliations, and the love story ends on a passionate, loving note.
Final Analysis of Wicked Stranger
While nowhere near as perfect as its predecessor, this is still a delightful read due to the wonderful, charismatic hero, Noel. I adore Rawlings’ heroes; they’re so diverse and compelling. Noel was the star of this book, as he was such a magnetic character.