Review by Riley
About Traitor in Her Arms
Two morally compromised souls wage a battle of wits—and seduction—against the backdrop of the French Revolution in this thrilling romance from bestselling author Shana Galen.
After her late husband leaves her in debt to some dangerous people, Lady Gabrielle McCullough is forced to become a thief. In the intervening years, her skills have not gone unnoticed. After being recruited by the Scarlet Pimpernel, the mysterious do-gooder spiriting aristocrats out of revolutionary France, Gabrielle crosses the Channel for the most daring mission of her life. Accompanying her is the Earl of Sedgwick, a thief in his own right and an enticingly masculine presence. The man is not to be trusted—nor is Gabrielle’s body when he’s near.
Ramsey Barnes would not say he is an honorable man. His whole life has been based on a lie; why change now? Although it pains him to deceive the tantalizing Gabrielle, he’s working toward an altogether different objective: unmasking the Scarlet Pimpernel. If Ramsey fails, his blackmailer will ruin him. But when Ramsey’s confronted with the carnage of the Reign of Terror, he seeks refuge in Gabrielle’s heated embrace. Now he faces a terrible choice: betray the woman who’s stolen his heart—or risk losing everything.
Review of Traitor in Her Arms
Traitor in Her Arms starts out as a ‘gentleman/gentlewoman’ thief story. I must admit I was really enjoying the opening chapter when the first theft ‘competition’ takes place between Gabrielle and Ramsey. But remembering the book synopsis, I quickly realized, this lighthearted start to the book would not last.
Both Gabrielle and Ramsey became thieves out of necessity. Gabrielle, to pay off her late husbands debts. Telling Ramsey’s reason for becoming a thief would be a bit of a spoiler here. But suffice to say that, at heart, both Gabrielle and Ramsey are honorable people.
The idea that heirs are responsible for the debts of the dead has always been disturbing to me. Especially in the time of this story, when women had little or no rights as to how the family funds where spent. In this case, it only serves to make the reader empathize more with Gabrielle, cheer for her and boo at the villainous debt collector who also makes an early appearance.
Very soon after chapter one, the story turns serious when Gabrielle agrees to take on a mission for the Scarlet Pimpernel. This first part seem hurried and without enough details. It did serve to make the Scarlet Pimpernel the most inscrutable character in the book. After Gabrielle embarks on her journey and meets Ramsey, on his own secret mission, the story takes a darker turn landing the pair in the middle of the Reign of Terror in Paris. I was quickly caught up in the adventure, danger and the emotions of the situation.
There was one contrived situation, where the heroine and hero must get naked to avoid arrest. It was an odd combination of humor and seriousness. But hey, it is a romance – with lots of romancing! The romancing takes the form of both the hero and the heroine overthinking and mostly deciding that it is best they do not go too far, for various, well-thought out reasons. As the reader, I could not wait for the moment their hearts would block out their thoughts.
This book seesaws from the from the intense emotions between Gabrielle and Ramsey to the danger and horror of Paris during the Reign of Terror. The scene where romance and history are combined and Ramsey proves his love for Gabrielle is so epic to be movie-worthy. No spoilers though. Just know it is coming.
This first book in The Scarlet Chronicles has so much going for it: a sizzling romance, danger, adventure, history, intrigue and mysterious hero with a secret identity. Shana Galen’s talent as a storyteller shines in Traitor in Her Arms.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in so that I could bring you this honest review.
This book had me thinking about one movie and several other books you might find interesting.
First, the movie. The first time I heard about the Scarlet Pimpernel was when I saw a TV movie. It started Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour and Ian McKellen. You can watch the movie on YouTube if you like.
Next the books. On the subject of gentlemen thieves: Ernest William Hornung (1866-1921) was the brother-in-law to Arthur Conan Doyle. He wrote series of short stories about Raffles, gentleman thief.
On the subject of English spies during the French Revolution: Joanna Bourne, a favorite author amoung historical romance readers wrote The Spymaster’s Lady.
On the subject of spies with flower names: Lauren Willig – Pink Carnation is a series of historical mysteries that starts with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.
And finally, one more revolutionary with a flower name, this time in a paranormal setting: Juliette Cross – The Black Lily.
Add Traitor in Her Arms to your Goodreads shelf:
Purchase Traitor in Her Arms