The Smuggler’s Escape by Barbara Monajem

The Smuggler’s Escape by Barbara Monajem
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (321 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

After escaping the guillotine in her native France, aristocrat Noelle de Vallon takes refuge with her aunt in Sussex. Feisty, resourceful, and determined to make her own way, she takes over the local smuggling operations, doubling their profits. But when their plans are betrayed, a man from her past steps out of the shadows to save her. Too bad he’s the last man on earth she ever wanted to see again.

Years ago, Richard, Lord Boltwood’s, plan to marry Noelle was foiled when his ruthless father shipped him to the Continent to work in espionage. But with the old man at death’s door, Richard returns to England with one final mission: to catch a spy. And Noelle is the prime suspect.

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Can Richard and Noelle learn to trust each other?

Noelle and Richard have quite the past. They fell in love and promised to marry. Unfortunately, circumstances tore them apart leaving Noelle feeling confused and betrayed. Two years later, Richard returns to find Noelle heavily involved in smuggling and in danger of being arrested as a spy. Richard desperately wants to help her, but Noelle, still angry at being abandoned, is determined to make her way on her own. However, Noelle may need more than her own willpower to escape with her life.

Richard and Noelle are certainly an intense couple. Their wills are evenly matched, they have great chemistry, and they enjoy teasing and bickering with each other, or at least they did at one time. Richard comes back expecting to pick up where they left off, but Noelle is understandably angry at being left behind without explanation. Rather than being entertaining, their bickering had a bitter taste. I found myself wishing I could have gotten to know them before their forced separation. I think they would have been a fun couple to watch.

Richard and Noelle’s major issue is trust. They both expect loyalty and trust, but weren’t willing to be completely honest with each other. So many of their problems could have been cleared up in a single, honest conversation, and there were many opportunities to have that conversation. Unfortunately, they stubbornly push ahead, each convinced they know what is best. Consequently, they cause each other a lot of unnecessary heartache. I found this frustrating. As a result, it was hard for me to relax and enjoy their relationship. Richard is determined to keep Noelle with him even though it is clear she is upset and has misconceptions about why he left her. Yet, Richard professes to be confused by Noelle’s behavior. I find this very hard to believe. I know the misunderstandings are meant to add tension and suspense to the plot, but I found them all rather unsettling.

Despite these issues, I am pleased to say that Richard and Noelle eventually find their way to a happy ending. After everything they have endured, I believe they will be a powerful couple and will be more open and honest with each other in the future.

Looking for a historical romance with a strong-willed couple and plenty of emotional turmoil? I recommend giving The Smuggler’s Escape a try!

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