Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ice Angel, by Elizabeth Hanbury


It's always a good day when there's a box on my front porch from London town! What was inside did not disappoint- Elizabeth's Hanbury's second novel is just as good as her debut!  But don't let the title fool you, there's nothing cool about Ice Angel, but rather, very hot!

Isabella, the widowed Lady Vane, is determined to spend their weeks in London not involved in society and keeping a low profile until they can move to the country and their new home.  She has a tortured past that she is desperate to leave behind so she may start afresh.  Her Aunt Harriet has other ideas, and coaxes her out to a few parties under the pretense that society would only look on her as eccentric, and only gossip about her even more.  Isabella turns many heads as she ventures out into society, making it impossible for her to remain unnoticed at any function she attends.  At one such party, Isabella meets Hal, the  Earl of Bramwell and the only man that causes her carefully controlled facade to crack.  No man has ever brought out such feelings in her, but he is wild and reckless, exactly what Isabella wishes to avoid.  Hal has other ideas, and continues to pursue her, allowing her the time and space she needs.  Her past is full of torment and pain and she has no intention of letting any man harm her again.  Hal is very patient and level headed, in contrast to his reputation.  Many obstacles are placed in the couples path to happiness- kidnapping, lies and deceit, not to mention Isabella's own insecurities.  However, neither can stop the sparks from flying when they are together.

Ice Angel is full of Regency richness- the parties, the glittering balls, the gowns- just the kind of histrorical detail that wish for in many books, but fail to find.  Elizabeth Hanbury writes so descriptively that you are easily transported back in time and her characters are so romantically written that you fall in love immediately with each of them.  There is a perfect balance of multiple love stories and a twisting and turning plot that you will not want to put down the book until you have completely finished.  Isabella is a very complex character with a wide range of emotions from her horrible marriage that draw you in and keep you hooked until the very last page.  Hal is also wonderfully written and his feelings for Isabella are so intense from the beginning that you can really see his love for her.  There are many secondary characters that make the story very amusing with their antics, from the love story of Harriet, Isabella's aunt, and Sir Seymour or Dinny as he is known as, a very fashion conscious member of the ton, to Dominic, Isabella's curious and adorable son.  Also, Hal's mother Marguerite, the Dowager Countess of Bramwell, Lady Julia, his sister, his brother Theo, and best friend, Freddie.   Let us not forget the redheaded former flame of Hal's, Felicity, Lady Portland, who is perfectly written as the beautiful and vindictive villian.  Ice Angel is a wonderful read that will keep you guessing until the very end.  A must read for the summer!

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