Lord Lavenham has his great-nephew Tristam and granddaughter Eustacie agree to marry just before he dies. Neither one has any interest in the other. As Eustacie puts it, it is a mariage de convenance. Eustacie can't stand the idea of marrying stogy old Tristam, afterall he's 31! And no fun at all. She wants to have grand adventures like her escape from the guillotine (sort of) and marry someone romantic. She runs off in the middle of the night.
Eustacie doesn't get far. She has a run in with a group of smugglers who happen to be lead by her disgraced cousin Ludovic. He is the most romantic cousin she has, having been accused of murder. She is determined to find the real killer and clear Ludovic's name. Before she can hatch a plan, Ludovic gets injured and Eustacie finds refuge for them at a local inn.
Sarah Thane is a young woman travelling with her brother when she finds Ludovic bleeding in the inn's drawing room. Eustacie lets her in on their troubles and since she's looking for an adventure herself, agrees to help. In the meantime, Tristam has tracked Eustacie down and is surprised to find Ludovic there. As it seems that Ludovic's determined to get his good name back, Tristam sees no other course than to help him find the one thing that can clear him: his lost Talisman Ring. The four end up embroiled in an adventure that will lead them to into danger... and romance.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer. Can I say it was delightful? Okay, it was delightful. It had action and adventure. Two heroines and heroes for the price of one. It was funny and well written.
As for the characters, they all had their own little quirks and I liked them all. Eustacie is young and naive. She doesn't think ahead, just makes it up as she goes along. She's obviously read too many romance novels and thinks things will end happily ever after (and of course they will!). I wasn't sure if I was going to like Tristam but he won me over. He's definitely the straight man in this crew. Ludovic is the perfect match to Eustacie: young and reckless. He might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer though. Finally, Sarah is my favorite. She is so funny. At times I didn't know if she was serious or joking! I liked the repartee between her and Tristam. The only character I didn't like was Sir Hugh, Sarah's brother. I found his cluelessness tiresome.
Even though there is action, no one ever takes the danger very seriously and neither did I. There are shoot-outs, B&Es, fist fights and other manly things. The women are either look outs or working espionage. Lots of fun!
Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for the copy.