Review: Angel of the Lost Treasure by Marie Laval
I'm so delighted to share my review of a novel that was such great fun to read: Angel of the Lost Treasure by Marie Laval.
My thanks to Rachel's Random Resources and the author/publisher for a copy.
Angel of the Lost Treasure
Historical Romance Adventure
What a fun ride this story was!
Marie-Ange Norton, the widow of a British Naval Officer, has been invited to France, to the home of her ancestors, by their new owner, Uxeloup Malleval. She has an unexpected inheritance to collect, but must sign the deeds in person. With her own crumbling manor requiring work, and her 18-year-old brother-in-law dreaming of a commission to join the Navy, she has no choice but to accept.
Malleval sends dashing Cuirassier Hugo Saintclair to accompany her safely across the channel and France. Marie-Ange is unimpressed by the officer's haughty attitude and keeps herself to herself – not easy when travelling together at close distance. And things are not as they seem.
On her arrival at Beauregard, her mother's family's stately home in Burgundy, she is shocked to discover that, in order to claim her inheritance, she is forced to help unlock an old family secret. Apparently, she knows the hiding place of an ancient Templar relic that is buried somewhere in the grounds. A relic Malleval, who is suffering from a mystery illness, desperately wants.
But Marie-Ange only vaguely remembers the words of a lullaby her mother, who died when she was a small girl, taught her. Looking through her mother's drawings, she suddenly spots hints she never noticed before. But she could never share her discoveries with Malleval, or his creepy sidekick, Doctor Karloff (a very suitable name), who tries to hypnotise her.
Finding herself a virtual prisoner of Malleval, Marie-Ange devises ways of escaping him and discovering the secret herself. But to do that she needs Hugo's help. And he poses another danger – one to her own heart.
And then there's still the question of her missing husband...
There are so many brilliant twists and turns in this fabulous story, you can barely pause to take a breath. You get a real sense of adventure, a hint of Indiana Jones, and of conspiracy and intrigues. The pace is relentless, and poor Marie-Ange is thrown from one surprise into the next.
But she is a real heroine. She is not afraid to show fear but is also courageous when she needs to be. Her character dominates the novel's narrative, although at times we get Hugo's point of view too, which adds to the depth as it often shows areas where Marie-Ange's narrative can't reach.
Hugo is as uncaring and arrogant on the surface as you can imagine. His behaviour towards Marie-Ange veers from disdain to passion, especially when he realises the dangers she's in. But he is redeemed at the end.
Malleval is the arch-antagonist. Scheming, desperate, and ruthless. His treatment of others only serves his own purpose. Great characterisation here.
Weaving the conspiracy theory into the romance gives this story more depth. We have a rollicking adventure on our hands, at a time when Napoleon prepares to return, and King Louis XVIII is an uncertain choice. Loyalties change with ambition, and those politics provide the perfect historical backdrop. I know very little about the era, but I was immediately intrigued.
Readers who prefer a blossoming romance with a focus on the hero and heroine might find the conspiracy and political intrigues distracting, but for me, it makes the perfect romance adventure.
Angel of the Lost Treasure has everything I look for in a gripping, engaging and intriguing romance novel. Chapeau!
One of my favourite reads this year. Highly recommended!
An ancient secret hidden within a mother’s song ...
When young widow, Marie-Ange Norton is invited to Beauregard in France by the mysterious Monsieur Malleval to collect an inheritance, she has no choice but to accept.
But when she embarks on the voyage with her fiery-tempered travelling companion Capitaine Hugo Saintclair, little does she know what waits for her across the sea in turbulent nineteenth-century France on the eve of Napoleon’s return from exile. When she arrives, she is taken aback by Malleval’s fascination with her family – seemingly inspired by his belief they are connected to a sacred relic he’s read about in coded manuscripts by the Knights Templar.
As it becomes clear that Malleval’s obsession has driven him to madness, Marie-Ange is horrified to realise she is more the man’s prisoner than his guest. Not only that, but Hugo is the only person who might be able to help her, and he could represent a different kind of danger.
About the Author:
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for the past few years. She writes both contemporary and historical romance.
Her novels include best selling contemporary romantic suspense novels LITTLE PINK TAXI and ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU, which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Awards, as well as A PARIS FAIRY TALE and BLUEBELL'S CHRISTMAS MAGIC.
Her latest novel, ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE, was released in February 2021.
Marie also contributes to the best selling Miss Moonshine's Emporium anthologies together with eight author friends from Authors on the Edge.
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