Harlequin Historical, $5.25, ISBN 0-373-29248-1
Historical Romance, 2003
Fan Winslow is living a double-life. Outwardly, she’s the housekeeper of Feversham Hall, the house now owned by George Claremont, our hero. On the other hand, she leads a smuggling gang. Don’t worry, genteel readers, she’s doing it all for her daddy, who has gone AWOL. Isn’t she sweet?
George is an appealing hero in that while he is a seafaring man, he is also smart enough to know when to settle down with the woman he knows he wants to love and marry. As he breaks down Fan’s defenses, he likes her more and more. I don’t know why, really. Fan only comes to life towards late in the story. For the most part, she’s the stereotypical type who should stop being Daddy’s shopworn doormat. Her behaviors throughout this story is motivated by her trying to hold the smuggling company together in anticipation of the day if – when, Fan will insist – her father shows up once more. The smugglers resent this, they want to move on, although I guess them shooting her dead and throwing her body over the cliffs will mean that this book will be only three sentences long (“George buys a new house. He asks for the housekeeper. Turns out she’s dead, murdered by smugglers.”). So basically this is a story about a woman who refuses to move on and seize happiness because she’s all about her selfish daddy.
Still, Miranda Jarrett knows how to tell a story well. George is a charming hero and while Fan, a nitwit through and through, does have her moments, particularly towards the last few chapters when she finally tries to put her priorities in order (even if she comes off a little too much on the hysterical loon side when she’s at it). If the heroine has been a little more rational in her actions and decisions, The Silver Lord would have been a much better book.