Lady Emma Beaumont has never taken well to being controlled by men. so When her late brother Ned names Lord Alasdair Chase as the trustee of her fortune until she marries, she is less than thrilled. Not only is Alasdair a deceiving, if charming, rogue, he is also her ex-lover, and the man she has tried her best to forget for the last three years.
Though once her childhood friend and even her fiancé, Alasdair plans to keep his relationship with Emma as formal as possible. After the pain and humiliation of her flight from their wedding years ago, Alasdair doubts he could ever feel deeply for her again. When Emma declares that she will have a husband and a lover by St. Valentine's Day in order to free herself from his control as quickly as possible, Alasdair wishes her the best, and sits back to enjoy the show.
But when Emma sets her sights on the sinister and unknown French émigré Paul Denis, Alasdair cannot contain his disapproval. Determined to win Emma back, or at least keep her from the clutches of Paul Denis, Alasdair turns on the full power of his charms. Unable to deny their long-buried feelings, Emma and Alasdair try to sort through their conflicting suspicions and attractions. Undaunted by Emma's rejection of him, Paul's malicious interests pose a greater threat to Emma and Alasdair than their own insecurities.
While this book's finely detailed setting and liberal scattering of barouches, pelisses, and postilions satisfy the basic requirements for a tasty historical romance, Valentine for Emma lacks the sparkling creativity usually found in Jane Feather's work. The dialogue drags a bit in early scenes, and minor characters such as the snippy aunt and the villainous Paul remain shallow and unengaging. However, Alasdair and Emma are both compelling characters, and their passionate love scenes will certainly keep any reader's attention. --Nancy R.E. O'Brien