Once Upon a Wager


Alec and Gareth, and his younger sister, Annabelle, grew up together in the country. Alec, however, was heir to a title, lands, and a seat in the House of Lords. As Alec and Gareth became men, Annabelle also became a woman: a tempting one not approved of by Alec's father. A tragic accident takes Gareth’s life, and sends Alec and Annabelle on different paths.

Four years later, Alec and Annabelle meet again, and in their own distorted way, attempt to make sense of the accident. She doesn’t remember, and he wants to forget and be the man his father wanted of him.

A probably-could-happen story full of emotion and strong characters, Ms. LeMense will win over any reader to historicals. A rich tale that draws a reader into the protagonists' struggle to find themselves after a tragedy, readers will root for the hero and heroine, and boo the bad guy. The only slight misstep is Annabelle’s refusal to listen to someone who was a lifelong friend, and known to be impeccably honest. Readers might be annoyed by “the miscommunication” being the main issue. That refusal, however, fuels all the angst, so without it, Alec and Annabelle would not have grown up into incredibly strong and capable adults. A love story worth swooning over!

Julie York