Lies of Gold
By Jan Selbourne
Their love affair ended in anger and painful consequences. Lady Katherine Ashford has guarded a secret through years of abuse. Fighting wars and hard living has numbed Julian Ashford. Then fate steps in. A traitor is smuggling gold across the Channel to Napoleon Bonaparte and Julian is ordered back to Halton Hall and Katherine. It’s her secret and the increasing danger that rekindle the love they once shared, then a murder reveals the shocking truth of the gold smuggling. However, nothing could prepare them for the devastating betrayal when they finally face the mastermind behind this sordid operation.
“I left England because you told me I wasn’t good enough for you…”
But now Julian Ashford is back, although he is disgraced and one step away from a cell in Newgate Prison. At least, that is what his so-called family, who reside in Halton Hall believe.
It had been one week of forbidden love, just one week, and then Katherine Ashford had sent the only man she had ever loved away. It had been for the best. There was no future for herself and Julian. Katherine was married, and if their secret affair were discovered, then she would lose her son. Nevertheless, it had broken her heart to return to her husband — the honourable, gallant, as well as being a good friend to the Prince Regent, Charles Ashford, the Earl of Ballingford. Honourable and gallant? If only le bon ton knew the truth about Charles. Charles had been a cruel man, to both Katherine and her children. She had silently rejoiced when he fell from his horse and died. At last, she had thought, she would be free. However, even then, freedom had been denied her, for Charles had bestowed the guardianship of her son to his brother, the Honourable Martin Ashford. Martin had immediately taken up residence at Halton Hall and made life as difficult for Katherine as he could. All she could do was bide her time and wait the seven years for her son to come of age. Just seven years. Seven years of being subservient. Seven years of fear that Martin would take her son away from her. Seven years.
Julian could recall not one happy memory of Halton Hall, and he is loathed to return there. However, needs must, and the Devil has the whip. So here he was. In the one place he hated above all others, and the one place he had vowed never to return. But unbeknown to the residence of Holton Hall, Julian has not returned home to escape a prison sentence. He is here to find the traitor who is smuggling gold across the channel to fund Napoleon Bonaparte’s cause.
Katherine is determined to avoid Julian at whatever the cost. For it was not only memories that Katherine took away from their one week of love. Julian cannot know the secret that she has kept from him for ten years. He must not find out the truth, ever.
Lies of Gold by Jan Selbourne is the unashamedly enthralling story of forbidden love, secrets, lies, redemption and a traitor’s gold.
Wow! Where do I begin? What a book! What a story! Selbourne has not only written an engrossingly enthralling epic, but she has also created a cast of characters that seemingly leap off the page. Like all great romances, and I consider Lies of Gold a great romance, there is a dashing hero that is, of course, flawed, and a wonderful heroine. Katherine has endured a very abusive marriage, made worse by the time this story is set in. Katherine has no rights, she is her husband’s property, and he can do with her what he will. Although Charles has only a very brief life in this book before his unfortunate accident, his actions have long-lasting effects not only for Katherine but for her children as well. Selbourne has taken great care in her portrayal of Katherine, and she has an insightful understanding of the effect such abuse has. Katherine, is a broken woman, a ghost of what she once was. She is a vastly different woman to the one Julian fell in love with ten years ago. Julian’s reaction and his tenderness towards restoring her faith in him, and indeed in life itself, was profoundly moving, and it made Julian’s character all the more loveable.
I thought the portrayal of Katherine’s son, Stephen, was simply marvellous. Like his mother, Stephen had a very turbulent relationship with his father, and because of this, he has not reached anywhere near his potential. With Julian’s gentle praise, Stephen slowly comes out of his shell, and we have a glimpse of the wonderful man he will become. I enjoyed watching Julian’s and Stephen’s relationship develop throughout this book.
Alongside the romance is a tantalising hunt for the traitor. Selbourne has a writer’s intuition for what makes a book enjoyable, and as the plot thickened, I found myself utterly engrossed as Julian and Baker — Julian’s loyal sergeant — closed in on the smuggling ring.
Lies of Gold is not only an absorbing and heart-warming romance, but it is also a grand adventure, filled with deplorable villains and likeable rogues. I cannot praise this book enough. I enjoyed every minute of it.
If you are looking for your next Historical Romance read, then do yourself a favour and check out Lies of Gold. You won’t be disappointed.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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Lies of Gold
Jan Selbourne was born and educated in Melbourne, Australia and her love of literature and history began as soon as she learned to read and hold a pen. After graduating from a Melbourne Business College her career began in the dusty world of ledgers and accounting, working in Victoria, Queensland and the United Kingdom. On the point of retiring, she changed course to work as secretary of a large NSW historical society. Now retired Jan is enjoying her love of travelling and literature. She has two children, a stray live in cat and lives near Maitland, New South Wales