SALT BRIDE (Salt Hendon #1)
Jane Despard thought the earl had loved her. But when she woke up from the nightmare of betrayal, she found herself alone, destitute, and obliged to rely on the aid of a miserly merchant who wants nothing more than to punish the Earl of Salt-Hendon.
Salt thought Jane was the light of his life, until she broke off their betrothal and fled never to return. Fortunately, his cousin’s widow, Diana St. John, is there to support him and play hostess at his estate, but his cynical, bitter soul may never recover from the unkind cut Jane has dealt him.
When the contents of a will force Jane and Salt together again, Salt is determined to make Jane’s life a living hell for the pain she put him through. It does not take him long to discover, however, that his sweet, darling Jane has been wronged, and as their love finally flowers, it will take more than the machinations of a malicious murderess to separate them again.
This Georgian romance is a Gothic page-turner. The villainess, Diana St. John, is about as evil as they come, determined to stop at nothing so that she can marry the earl herself. Jane’s treatment at the hands of the merchant, Lady Diana, and even Salt himself was horrific. The great misunderstanding, of which Jane bears the brunt, drives a wedge between the two lovers, but while Jane bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, Salt takes out his ire on her like a petulant ogre. In the end, true love conquers, but somehow, it didn’t quite seem to compensate for the wringer that Jane was pressed through.
SALT REDUX (Salt Hendon #2)
Incarcerated for her murderous insanity, Lady Diana St. John is still as clever as can be. She escapes her prison and reenters London society, determined to do away with Lady Jane and her three children and regain her hold on the Earl of Salt-Hendon.
Horrified to learn of his sister’s plans, Sir Anthony (Tony) rushes homes from his diplomatic post in Russia. While abroad, he has managed to conquer his alcoholism and improve his character. Upon his return, he discovers that Salt’s sister Caroline, the woman who got away, is now a widow. Determined to prove himself worthy of Caroline this time, he endures his sister Diana’s derision and deviltry, proving that though she might be more clever than him he is in fact more tenacious. Together, Tony and Salt contrive a plan to thwart Diana, and the evil countess finally feels the full punishment for her crimes.
I enjoyed this book more than the first in the series. Tony’s struggles with temperance were delicately portrayed. Jane’s pure goodness shines as we see her in a motherly role. Salt himself is more enjoyable as a devoted father and husband. And Diana, per usual, scintillates and horrifies with her grotesque plots as the story races on to its final conclusion.