An arrogant aristocrat learns what it's like to live with a traveling circus--and the circus's strikingly beautiful equestrian--in Wolf's newest romance (after High Meadow), which takes place during the Napoleonic wars. Headstrong Gabrielle Robichon, leader of the Cirque Equestre, has agreed to help the English transport a vast amount of gold, desperately needed by Wellington, across France to Spain. But she's less than thrilled to learn that the English want handsome Col. Leo Standish, the earl of Bradford, to pose as her husband and accompany her. Tension simmers between Leo, who considers the assignment beneath him, and the fiercely independent Gabrielle, but when personal enmities erupt within the little circus family and French surveillance intensifies, the two are forced to play their roles with greater enthusiasm. Naturally, their playacting gives way to real passion, but their relationship too often takes a backseat to the goings-on within the troupe. Wolf has obviously done her research on circuses and Lipizzan horses, but her expository writing style and inclusion of unnecessary detail dampens the story's intensity. Although this is far from Wolf's best effort, it is a serviceable romance with a refreshing setting and well-drawn protagonists.
Reviewed on: 08/01/2004 Release date: 08/01/2004 Genre: Fiction