by Barbara SamuelJuly 2006
Characters bring to life the evocative and sensual Vanquished, a lusciously dark and original historical romance by Hope Tarr. Suffragette leader Caledonia Rivers, the so-called Maid of Mayfair, has attracted an enemy who wants her reputation destroyed. Photographer Hadrian St. Claire, the son of a whore who has scrabbled to a halfway decent life, is facing both bodily and financial ruin after a streak of disastrous luck at the tables, and reluctantly accepts the commission. He'll seduce her into a nude photograph, which, when published, will destroy her. Both Callie and Hadrian have suffered from the social structure of 1890s London, and both are stunned at the blaze of sensual, binding attraction they feel. Trapped by the cruel scenario, the two grapple with the past and the lies between them, seeking redemption in love, not only for themselves, but the society they live in. A galloping pace, heady sexual tension and an elegant touch with period detail make this a delicious read. Barbara Samuel is a four-time RITA winner whose most recent novel is Madame Mirabou's School of Love.