He is a sea captain who has come back from the Napoleonic wars. She is a London shopkeeper. She and her love are pitted against each other for the sake of their families and some terrible accusations. She gathers evidence to convict his brother of a harrowing crime, and he is disheartened to discover something startling about her sister. Can their love survive the results of their investigations? They devise a dangerous plan to get to the truth, which brings them as spies into the heart of Napoleon’s camp in 1812 Russia.
Duncan Amberly certainly is attractive and, what is more, manages to say the right things. He likes educated women (good heavens!), he speaks of music…and we wonder if Clarissa's heart will betray her. At the start, it is easy to believe her love will cause her descent into darkness…that this is all a carefully woven romance, but it is more. There is more waiting for young Clarissa; from a dangerous journey to a kidnapping, and before her is a darkness we could not have predicted. What seems a subtle romance actually involves a tangled tale of mystery and intrigues around the war. Shared sorrows unite some, but loyalties and family have a huge role to play here. The unpredictable nature of this story combines with the well-maintained tone and believable characters to keep the interest building throughout. Specifics of the war are perhaps a tad complex, but one need not know the details of the conflict to understand the challenges to various people’s loyalties, or how differing loyalties could tear a family apart.
The pace and setting of this historical romance seem perfect. The dialogue is different enough to hint at the year, without being extreme enough to distract. The courtesies of the day are carefully observed (or acknowledged at least, for we must admit that Clarissa is not of the upper classes).
The shop, their ‘regulars’ and even their goods are all wonderfully appropriate and become a remarkably visible backdrop for much of the tale. The family members—even the remembered sorrows, give wonderful depth to even lesser characters.
Any fan of the historic romance will enjoy Divided Loyalties.
Long and Short Reviews
Set during the Georgian period while Bonaparte rampages through Europe, this novel shows that MacGregor knows the era, and shares its detail without hampering the storyline. She delivers quite the story of a woman’s strength and a man’s determination as they search for answers to abduction and espionage. Quite the page turner.
It reads almost like a script as the dialogue takes the reader onto the stage boards and into one’s imagination, a new concept of writing that is worth exploring. You’d think it would sink into ‘telling,’ but it does not, and it takes a talented author to pull it off.
For a good read, this one is worth your while.
Author of Historical Fiction