HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Book Review: Elizabeth Hawksley – The Cabochon Emerald

Posted by HelenEdith on September 27, 2008

Last weekend Stephen and I went to Orpington and we called in at the library there. It’s part of the Bromley Library system and my library card works there, so I returned my previous stack of books (and discovered that I’d attracted an overdue fine on a couple of them) and had a look round the shelves in the Orpington Library to see what different stock they had.

I found this Regency Romance on the Historical Romance shelves. It is about Anna de Cardonnel, who escaped from France with her father at the time of the French Revolution. The Cabochon Emerald was used as surety to buy the American passports they used to escape from Paris, and was supposed to be retrieved on their arrival in London, where Anna’s father had some money. Unfortunately, the emerald, and the priest who was holding it, had disappeared.

Anna lived with her father and his mistress, who was a patissierre, but on her father’s death, she moved in with Lord and Lady Broxhead and their daughter Julia, to whom she was related. The Broxhead’s regarded the Cabochon Emerald as a myth and treated Anna as a poor relative. She shared Julia’s lessons and her come-out, but was kept somewhat in the shade.

About the time that Julia became engaged, Lord Broxhead received an enquiry about Anna from Laurence Redbourne, who has already been briefly introduced to us as the younger son of a City businessman, and a bad lot. In fact, he got packed off to America due to his embezzling activities, but now he’s returned, and has information from another less than honest ex-clerk that Anna will inherit a fortune. Anna has no knowledge that she has any prospects beyond the £500 her father has left to her, which she will gain control of on her 21st birthday.

We also meet Luke Redbourne, Laurence’s older and completely responsible brother, who is doing very well in the City. Luke realises that Laurence has returned when he receives a visit from Anna, telling him that a match between them will not do. Everyone rather quickly realises that there are two Mr L Redbournes at large in The City of London, but Lord Broxhead, who now has huge gambling debts with Laurence Redbourne, continues to promote a match between him and Anna. Anna eventually refuses him, and leaves the Broxhead’s house and returns to her Tante Marie at the patisserie.

However, that isn’t the end of things, as Laurence is very determined to get his hands on Anna’s supposed fortune and will stop at nothing to achieve it. Even when Luke marries Anna to protect her from Laurence, he still doesn’t give up.

In fact the streets of London become quite dangerous for all concerned for a while, before things come to an entirely satisfactory conclusion, as do most historical romances, of course.

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