cover image Days of Gold

Days of Gold

Jude Deveraux, . . Atria, $25.95 (376pp) ISBN 978-1-4391-0794-2

The inevitable prequel to Lavender Morning places Deveraux on familiar historical romance ground as she traces the journey to America of the namesake of the fictional town of Edilean, Va. English-born Edilean Talbot is very out of place when she arrives in 1766 Scotland to live with her uncle. A pressing problem presents itself when her uncle plans to marry off the rich, beautiful and well-educated Edilean to one of his unsavory friends the moment she turns 18. Reluctantly, Angus McTern, the highland hunk who laughs at Edilean even as he falls for her, helps her escape and accompanies her on a transatlantic voyage acting the role of husband. Once in Boston, they go their separate ways, later reuniting when old friends help Edilean dispense with an enemy. After dozens of novels, Deveraux has a sure hand evoking plucky heroines, dastardly villains and irresistible heroes, as well as a well-rounded supporting cast. If the plot seems familiar and occasionally contrived (how convenient laudanum is available when someone needs to be knocked out), the pace moves quickly and the romance sparks with enough voltage to keep readers turning pages. (Dec.)