This may be the shortest review I have ever written! Usually about
two-thirds of my reviews consists of plot synopses and character
descriptions. Well, I am not going to tell you anything about
the plot and not much about the characters. To do so would be to spoil
the intricate story and ruin all the surprises that the author has in
store for her readers.
What I can tell you is that the hero is Charles Fraser, a wealthy and
prominent Whig politician. The heroine is his wife Melanie whom he
married in Portugal during the war. They met while he was on an
important mission for the British embassy where he served as an attache
and intelligence agent. (I can tell you this because it’s on the dust
jacket.) Melanie is beautiful and accomplished. The couple have been
married for seven years and have two children: Colin, age six and
Jessica, age three.
The Frasers live a life of privilege among the glittering members of the
ton. But they are not thoughtless dilettantes. Charles is a radical
Whig, opposing both the government’s repressive domestic actions and its
foreign policy of supporting the forces of reaction in Europe. The two
are lovers as well as husband and wife and count themselves blessed.
Then, one evening after returning from a ball, their children’s
governess rushes into their room to tell them that Colin can’t be found.
All too soon, it becomes clear that Colin has been kidnapped and that,
to meet the kidnapper’s demands, they will have to revisit their past.
Suddenly, the perfect facade of their marriage cracks and it is not
clear if the break can be mended.
I note that Daughter of the Game is categorized not as a romance,
but rather as a mystery by my local Borders. I imagine that this tact
has been adopted to find the book an audience beyond the romance
community which knows Grant’s work. It is not, however, an inaccurate
designation. I would call Daughter of the Game romantic, but not
a romance. The plot revolves around the parents’ desperate quest to
discover the key to their son’s safe return. This requires both
deduction and danger. Yet the theme of the book centers on the
relationship between Charles and Melanie and whether it can survive the
trauma that results from Colin’s kidnapping.
Grant has created a cast of fascinating characters who have all “played
the game” to one extent or another. She offers a realistic vision of
the world of Regency England that does not often find its way into the
pages of romance novels. She provides a plausible plot that sets this
particular game in motion.
Daughter of the Game is a real page turner. Romance readers who
like their stories dark and full of angst should adore this book. Fans
of historical mysteries should likewise enjoy the twists and turns of
the plot. I certainly hope that this book finds the audience it
deserves. Grant has clearly written “the book of her heart” and the
result is an exciting and moving tale.
NB. I note that the dust jacket calls Daughter of the Game Tracy
Grant’s “stunning debut.” I always thought “debut” meant first. As
Grant has written several excellent historical romances (both alone and in collaboration with her late mother),
I have to wonder why this misleading statement was given such prominence. Don’t historical romances count as books?