Widow, Lady Penelope Bridgeman, Baroness Manton, has turned the tragedy of her husband’s death to the benefit of others. Since Michael’s death she’s studied maladies of the mind and spirit, especially in soldiers back home from The Napoleonic Wars. This expertise has led Gabriel Devereaux, the Marquess of Bromwich’s, mother to request her assistance. Gabriel was Michael’s cousin and a friend of Penelope’s, a friend she shut out after Michael’s death.
Gabriel now resides in a private sanatorium, Vickering Place. To help Gabriel and prevent his younger brother having him declared insane and seizing his estate Penelope will have to breach the walls she’s built since Michael’s death. Is it possible that by helping Gabriel find his way back Penelope will discover the means to heal herself?
Mr. Allen is the director of Vickering Place. Having a Marquess in residence is quite a coup for Mr. Allen. Frankly, I wanted to reach into the book & pinch his head slap off his oily condescending shoulders.
Penelope Bridgeman, Baroness Manton, you may remember from Sweet Enemy. Penelope is Lilianna’s cousin. You would be forgiven for wondering just what kind of heroine Penelope could possibly be, especially for a hero as male and damaged as Gabriel. This niggle of doubt is masterfully, albeit tragically, dealt with.
Gabriel Devereaux, the Marquess of Bromwich, and Michael’s cousin- The dark to Michael’s light. Upon meeting Pen Gabriel fell in love with the one woman he could never have. He chose to be her friend instead.
Edward and Amelia- Gabriel’s younger brother and his wife. Edward was very much whipped and Amelia was grasping. Didn’t care for either of them.
Lilianna and Geoffrey, Lord and Lady Stratford, you may also remember them as the hero and heroine of Sweet Enemy. Due to the relationship between Pen and Lilianna we get to see the results, to this point, of Lilianna and Geoffrey’s efforts to provide gainful employment to soldiers.
There are others but you’ll just have to read SWEET MADNESS to meet them.
Pen is a departure from the heroine’s we’ve become accustomed to from Ms. Snow. Liliana and Emma were brilliant, educated and chafing at the strictures imposed on them as women. Pen was totally content within the boundaries society and her family set for her. Accepting of other’s idiosyncrasies she’s innately thoughtful and unashamedly reliant on her intuition and feelings, rather than logic, knowledge, patterns, or numbers. As an artist she’s much more comfortable with the world of the senses and emotions than either Liliana or Emma. No, Pen isn’t a chemical whiz or mathematical genius; she possesses a different intelligence, one of the soul. Pen is an emotional genius and reader of people, one who intrinsically senses what someone needs to heal and sets about doing her damndest to make that happen.
The down to earth compassionate method Pen uses to help soldiers with “battle fatigue” was just right, neither melodramatic nor pitying it struck the perfect balance. However, as Pen discovers, healing is a two way street.
Gabriel and Pen’s time at Somerton Park was therapeutic and a bit idyllic for them. I, as the reader, was on constant edge waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s not possible to say more without giving too much away. You’ll just have to read and discover the whys and wherefores of the Somerton interlude yourself. Penelope and Gabriel’s second chance at life and love will take you through your paces emotionally as the best love stories should do.
Sweet Madness touched me in a deeply personal way. As an Army brat I grew up around soldiers. I’ve experienced and witnessed the repercussions from experiences in WWII, Vietnam, and the present war in my family. This personal connection to Gabriel and his plight is most likely the reason Pen and Gabriel’s story is my favorite of the series.
SWEET MADNESS is an excellent end to an exquisitely executed series.
I’m going to miss the Veiled Seduction books because they were always intelligent, entertaining, and enlightening. I’m looking forward to what Ms. Snow has in store for her readers next.
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