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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Enemy of the King by Beth Trissel

Enemy of the King by Beth Trissel
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Action/Adventure
Length: Full (322 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.

Meri’s twin brother is a Tory. The love of her life is a Patriot. Meri’s loyalties lay somewhere in the middle.

Meriwether Steele has been in love with Jeremiah Jordan since she was a girl. With her father dead and her twin brother off fighting for the British, Jeremiah becomes Meri’s guardian while she recovers from an illness. After she recovers, Meri relishes the time spent with Jeremiah, but fears for his safety when she discovers he is a Patriot spy. Even more troubling, Meri learns that Jeremiah’s dead wife, Rachel, has a hold over him that Meri might not be able to break.

Finally, Jeremiah confesses his love for Meri, but her joy is short lived. British troops arrive at Jeremiah’s doorstep with the intention of arresting him as a spy. Determined to keep Jeremiah out of British hands, Meri shoots and wounds Captain Vaughn, the officer sent to arrest Jeremiah. Branded a traitor to the crown, she is forced to flee into Carolina back country with Jeremiah and his band of Patriots. Unfortunately, Meri has captured the attention of Captain Vaughn. Once he recovers from his wound he’s determined to see Jeremiah hanged, and keep Meri for himself.

Meriwether is certainly a remarkable heroine. At first, the age difference between her and Jeremiah is very apparent. He is fourteen years older then her and her childlike stubbornness clearly illustrates this. However, as the story progresses, Meri develops into quite an extraordinary woman. Travelling through Carolina back country with Jeremiah teaches her more about love, life, and loss then she ever could have imagined as she fights to protect those she cares for.

Jeremiah is the classic haunted hero. His marriage to Rachel seemed ideal on the outside, but in reality was far from perfect. Even though Rachel is long gone, Jeremiah is still atoning for a wrong he committed against her years ago. As much as he wants to love Meri, the memory of his wife keeps him from moving on and committing to Meri completely.

Not only were the hero and heroine of the story compelling, but Captain Vaughn was one of the most intriguing villains I’ve read in a long time, which sets Enemy of the King a notch above some other books that I’ve read. At first Vaughn appears to be nothing more then the tyrant trying to tear Jeremiah and Meri apart. However, as I read the story, I discovered that Vaughn isn’t quite as evil as he first appeared. He too has a sense of honor and duty. He also genuinely cares for Meri and has the opportunity to prove the true depth of his character by the end.

In addition to creating memorable characters, Ms. Trissel makes wonderful use of descriptive language. “Dreadful screeching, like the cries of an enraged cat, tore through the muggy night and into Meriwether’s chamber…The sweetness of jasmine wafted from the trellised vine as she peered down through moss-draped branches.” Description like this can be found throughout Enemy of the King and really pulled me into the story so that I felt as if I were actually there.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Enemy of the King. Not only are the characters memorable and the setting beautifully described, but the action is riveting and the romance between Meri and Jeremiah is tender. I highly recommend Enemy of the King to anyone who loves a well crafted historical romance.