This is a republication of a book first published in 1989--the first in the Web trilogy. Web of Love and Devil's Web will follow over the next two years. This first book is the story of the elder brother of a family of three--Edmund Raine, Earl of Amberley--and Alexandra Purnell.
Dominic Raine, Edmund's younger brother, has arranged for two of his friends to "kidnap" his headstrong twin sister when he believes she is about to elope with a rogue. However, the friends bungle the job and kidnap the wrong woman. And so Alexandra Purnell, a young lady brought up in a strictly moral and religious household, finds herself gagged and tied to a bedpost in the Earl of Amberley's house for the whole of one night until he finds her there early the next morning. Both he and Dominic are prepared to do the honorable thing, and both offer her marriage. But Alexandra, although she is bullied into betrothing herself to the earl, is about to show some spunk for the first time in her life. There may be an engagement, but she is determined there will never be a marriage.
Author Note: The younger brother of an earl would have no title unless one were conferred upon him by the crown for some notable service. However, in the Web trilogy, the Earl of Amberley's younger brother is Dominic Raine, Lord Eden. I wish I could tell you that there is a reasonable explanation, but there is not. I can't remember my reasoning but can only conclude that in 1989 I knew no better! I held to my resolve not to do any rewriting of my older books and so have left the error as it is. Please forgive the rather ghastly error!
Dell Historical, ISBN 0-440-24306-8
It may be just another of this Season's many balls, but by the morning after, two of the guests will be tightly caught in a web of circumstance spun with the best of intentions.
It is early morning when Lord Amberley returns home and hears disturbing sounds from the room his sister uses when visiting. But he doesn't find Madeline in distress; he finds a woman he doesn't know, gagged and tied to Mad's bed. So the trap is sprung upon these two strangers. Lord Amberley is a nurturer and protector, and offers marriage to Alex to redeem his brother's transgression.
What makes Mary Balogh's novels so hard to put down? Is it the way she gets into the hearts and souls of her characters? The very uniqueness of those characters? The way she shows us what made them the people they are, and then how love changes them for the better? It's all of those things and more. Ms. Balogh writes of Alex and her brother James with understanding and sympathy, and portrays the whole Raine family with loving warmth.
Thank you Bantam/Dell for bringing back some of Mary Balogh's early work. The Gilded Web first came out in 1989. Besides featuring a riveting romance between Alex and Amberley, it plants the seeds for the next books of the Web trilogy. We'll see more of Dominic, Madeline, and James in Web of Love and Devil's Web.
If you missed The Gilded Web the first time around, don't miss it now. If you've read it once, it contains such a wealth of emotion, it's well worth reading again.
Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today