By Tqwana B.
4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
“I will love you all my life and even beyond that.”
Even at fifteen, Jeanne, the privileged daughter of a royalist émigré, knew what she liked: Englishman Robert Blake, bastard son of a marquess. Yet his questionable birth rendered him forbidden. Forced to part, they were still young enough to believe in tomorrow. But as time passed, that brief ephemeral flirtation at Haddington Hall faded into memory.
Eleven years later in Portugal, during the Peninsular Wars, they meet again, both of them spies, and destined to be working on opposing sides. He is now a captain with the British army. She is the widowed Marquesa das Minas–sometimes going by the name Joana da Fonte. However for only one of them does the flicker of recognition still burn.
Amid the fury of war and in the shadow of secrets, passion flares once again. But for Joana and Robert, each entrusted to a dangerous mission that demands deception, falling in love could be the most dangerous risk of all.
I really have a thing for historical romances. And I realize that most people will think it odd that I LOVE Regency romances especially. They fascinate me in much the same way as any SFF novel. A race of people very different from my own, with their own rules of etiquette, politics, social mores. Unfamiliar styles of dress and hair. A recognizable language and dialect, but still not quite what I speak. Beyond the Sunrise even has espionage and war. All that’s missing is magic. I love the aristocratic, haughty asshole heroes too.
But, I wouldn’t want to live there anymore than I would Westeros.
Mary Balogh is one of my favorites in the Regency romance genre. She always write heroines who are just independent enough to not be incongruous for the time period. They still want advantageous marriages and babies, but know they must play by the rules of their society. Which means lost of secret, sexy dalliances. Sunrise‘s heroine, Joana da Fonte probably pushing the boundaries a bit more, however.
Despite that, Beyond the Sunrise is still a great read. Former childhood sweethearts Joana and Robert Blake have been separated for years by class and lies, but find themselves working together (or maybe not) during the Peninsular Wars. But, only Robert recognizes the girl he once loved. So of course there’s lots of lovely, lovely hate sex.
Being in the midst of war, rather that just referencing it, adds more excitement and action than her usual novels. There’s a plot to avenge murdered relatives, and approaching battle, and even a jail break, which makes Beyond the Sunrise feel a little like a romantic suspense.
My one criticism of this novel, which is a trait many novels written in the 90s suffered from, is about the tons of unprotected sex that never results in pregnancy. It’s not enough to ruin the novel, but I’m so glad it’s being addressed more in novels now, even in historicals.