Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Book CoverSandy M’s review of Unmasked by Nicola Cornick
Historical Romance released by HQN Books 1 Jul 08

Nicola Cornick is another new author for me. And after this book, I’m going to definitely be reading more of her books. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Loved the characters, the story, the emotion, everything about it.

Nick Falconer is sent by his superiors to put a stop to the Glory Girls, a gang of highwaywomen, a la Robin Hood, near North Yorkshire, not only because the women are robbing members of the nobility, but it also seems they have a connection to the recent murder of the Earl of Rashleigh, who just happens to be Nick’s cousin and a man whose death no one is crying over. So, really, his assignment is two-fold. While unmasking the Glory Girls, he’s to also solve his own kinsman’s murder. He’s quite gung-ho in his duty, he’s one who believes in upholding the law no matter what, and begins his investigation immediately upon arrival in the country.

What he finds is a very demure Mari Osborne, whom he suspects of being involved with the gang and to whom he is quite attracted. The more he investigates her, the more he finds her story about herself to be false. She is not truly a widow of a former military man; she didn’t even exist more than five years ago. Mari knows the game she’s played these past five years may be up, the more she gets to know Major Falconer. He is a man who will stop at nothing to get at the truth. Her truth is something she’s hidden for so long, now she’s unsure whether to keep running or finally just tell all, especially because she is just as attracted to Nick as he is to her.

But Mari hails from Russia where she was a serf and eventually sold to the former Earl of Rashleigh who educated her, tried to make an English lady out of her. Her life turns tragic, however, when Robert, the earl’s son, inherits upon his father’s death. Robert treats the new English lady as the slave she is, abuses her trust and her body until she escapes him and starts fresh where no one knows her. She’s made friends in North Yorkshire and she’s the brains behind the Glory Girls, making sure the citizens in their part of the English countryside are given their due when treated poorly by the nobility. Wanting to lighten her load and confess all to Nick would be simple if he weren’t the earl’s heir. He now technically owns her as surely as Robert did.

So much happens in this book, the action never stops. The characters are charismatic and complex, as is the plot and mystery throughout the book.  The writing is just wonderful, rich and lush, placing you right in the thick of things in the middle of England. The emotion when Mari finally tells her story is deep and heart-felt. And the romance between Nick and Mari is the kind you wish you could get in every romance novel you read.

If you love reading historicals, I highly recommend this book to you.

SandyMGrade: A

Over the wild hills and valleys of North Yorkshire the notorious gang of highwaywomen the Glory Girls ride, to right the injustices of society. When Major Nick Falconer is sent to unmask Glory he finds instead the very proper widow Marina Osborne.
Nick never expected that Mari would be so intoxicatingly beautiful or so disturbingly luscious. Determined to have her—body, soul and secrets—at any cost, Nick sets out to seduce her with a passion that inflames them both.
But Mari holds much deeper, darker truths than Nick could ever imagine. Despite her fierce resistance, she can’t stop her body from yearning for his touch. Can she hide her sinister past from him much longer? Or will trusting the one man she so desperately wants lead her straight to the hangman’s noose?
Read an excerpt.

Other related books:

Book Cover