THE BETRAYED BEAUTY
When lovely young Omega Chartley was left at the altar by the man she loved, her life turned from a dream into a nightmare. Penniless, she had to find employment far below her station. Heartbroken, she could not think of ever trusting love again.
When she again met Matthew Bering, the man who had betrayed her trust and shattered her life, Omega had every reason to despise his handsome person, dismiss his outrageous explanations, and reject his amorous appeals.
And she had no reason whatsoever to do what she did when she fell under his spell -- a second time.
After a few so so reads, I think I finally saw the light with this story by Carla Kelly. I will certainly pay more attention to the other books I have by her in the TBR pile.
When the story opens Omega Chartley has just been left at the altar by the groom, that scene is told by said groom’s point of view but we don’t know why.
Fast forward 8 years and Omega’s circumstances have been reduced and she is travelling to a new position. Unexpectedly she finds a young boy on the run from a wicked uncle and being chased by a Bow Street Runner. Decided to help him Omega runs away with him and on the way they meet Hugh Owen (an ex-soldier who has lost a hand at Waterloo) and Angela, a Spanish orphan who his young charge. They travel together to a nearby estate where Jamie, the boy they are trying to save, hopes to meet his maternal uncle who might save him from his guardian.
When they arrive, Omega realizes that Jamie’s uncle is none other than her ex fiancé. They are both surprised to see each other and since Jamie’s presence is the main thing explanations are left for a later date but those past events are discussed by them. I thought the explanation for what happened 8 years earlier could in fact have made Matthew run away from his obligation but honestly I feel he should have gone back and explained after a suitable period of time to gather his wits. The fact that for 8 weeks he left Omega the subject of evil gossip, not to mention heartbroken makes him a bit of a coward in my view.
To solve Jamie’s problem Matthew joins forces with the Bow Street runner who was following him and as the action develops we feel that the world is really small as the loose ties are binded and everything starts to make sense.
I think Kelly managed to do a wonderful thing with this book which was to mention difficult subjects in a light way. This is not a sad story despite the fact that it deals with such different things as the poverty of the lower classes in London, thievery, child prostitution, greed that leads to murder, the problems the soldiers coming home from the war faced, war orphans... . These are the sort of social injustice that usually doesn’t make an appearance in romance because, let’s face it, there can be no happy ending for those involved but Kelly doesn’t shy away from them.
She also does write wonderful characters, Omega, Hugh and Angela, Jamie… they were all real, fun, believable and likeable. Matthew was also a good one but with the problems I mentioned earlier. I can’t wait to start my next Carla Kelly book and see if it’s as good as this one.