Paris in 1788 is on the brink of revolution. In the genteel salons of the aristocracy, nineteen year old ingénue, Thomasina Ardleigh is introduced to the scintillating world of the revolutionary, where she falls completely in love with the handsome and dangerous, Didier Paulin. When family circumstances force Thomasina to return home to England, she never forgets her love affair, and continues to hope for future happiness with Didier. However, the wheels of the revolution threaten the very safety of all those who remain in Paris and in 1793 when Thomasina secretly returns to France, her search for Didier involves her in dangerous political intrigue.
Reminiscent at times of the early work of Georgette Heyer, this novel is primarily a love story, and yet in the background, the French revolution is always bubbling under the surface, with enough description of historical events to make the story meaningful, and informative. I particularly enjoyed the social and political imagery of the revolution, and felt that the involvement of real historic figures helped to put the story into context. The social observations of Georgian England with all its faults and failings is very well done, particularly the descriptions of matrimonial conspiracies, and the lengths people went to, in order to maintain wealth and prosperity.
Overall, I thought that this was a really enjoyable read. The French Revolution is a huge topic to write about, and yet the author manages to convey the story without becoming over involved in sheer horror. There are some nice touches throughout, with likeable and believable characters, and a pleasing conclusion. I think that the book would work well as part of a book group read, there is enough content within the book to be able to debate around the subject of the French Revolution.