Judith B. Glad, Writer & Botanist
In all his wanderings, Buffalo Lachlan has only once before seen eyes winter-sky blue like Siri Trogen's. He promised a dying man he'd find a lost twin, and he's been following nebulous clues and vague rumors halfway around the world ever since. His search leads him to Astoria, Oregon, the cold, rainy winter of 1873.
Could Siri be the lost sister, heiress to a barony? Before Buff can find proof, he becomes caught up in her hunt for her stolen children. Inexplicable accidents and unexplained disasters complicate their efforts. Is someone trying to prevent Siri from finding her children, or him from finding the missing heiress?
Shared danger drives them into each other's arms. Shared adventure teaches them that they each have a streak of recklessness, a core of courage, and a heart full of love to share. But before they can make any decisions about the future, they have to find Siri's children, prove she's the lost baroness...and stay alive.
Siri found herself unaccountably sleepy soon after supper. She had slept long and deeply the night before, so she should not be nodding now. After stabbing herself with a needle twice, she set her sewing aside.
As she rose to undress, she had a sudden dizzy spell. It passed quickly. Perhaps she had stood too quickly. The water in the ewer was cool, and felt good against the too-warm skin of her face when she washed. How she wished she could remove the wide band that held her arm immobile. She itched. A bath would be heaven!
Undressing was even more difficult than it had been the night before. Siri didn't know what she would have done if she'd been wearing her usual skirt and blouse, with a camisole and two petticoats underneath. The Chinese garments were not nearly so complicated. She had slept in one of Buffalo's nightshirts last night, and would again, liking the faint masculine scent of it.
The dizziness struck again as she climbed into the bed, followed by a sudden sharp pain in her belly. Weak and shaking, she fell back against the pillows and waited for the sensations to ease. The pain settled into a dull ache, not quite a cramp, but the dizziness intensified. She closed her eyes, and the room revolved around her. After a moment, she felt herself slipping into sleep.
She awoke minutes or hours later. So dark. Not a spark of light anywhere. Her body was trembling and taut. She was overcome by a terrible urge to get up and run. Somewhere. Anywhere! Just to get away.
A laugh bubbled to her lips, yet she wanted to weep. For her stolen children, for her father, lost at sea. For herself, in love with a man who would soon move on and leave her behind.
Just as everyone she'd ever loved had abandoned her.
The image of a fair woman came into her mind, and she heard a childish voice calling to her. But not to her, for it called, "Astrid! Astrid!"
Who is Astrid? Siri felt she should know.
Her wrists hurt, and her ankles. She could not move her arm. I am chained! Let me go. Oh, please. I want my mother!
Anders! Anders, please save me!
She rolled to the side and toppled off a cliff. She fell and fell. So far. Endlessly.
She landed on her right shoulder. Pain shot down her arm and across her chest.
For a long time she lay unmoving, her face pressed against a cold, hard surface. Gradually the pain subsided, but she could not move, could not roll over and sit up. Her left hand was trapped beneath her body, and her right was held close by bonds around her chest. She was naked and freezing, and lacked the strength to save herself. She would drown here, trapped in these tangles of rope, her body encased in salty ice, to float forever upon the waves of an indifferent sea.
Faraway voices babbled, shouted, screamed, laughed. But no one came to succor her. She tried to crawl across the surface of the ice floe on which she rode, but it was slick, and the white shroud she wore twisted about her, hampering her movements. The darkness was broken now by a line of light on the horizon, a narrow ray that stayed the same until she was convinced the sun would never rise.
Siri watched the line of light, hoping it would brighten. After two or three years it split, became three short lines, just as a peal of thunder boomed. Again a voice called to her, but this one was deep, familiar. And it called her name.
"Siri! Siri, damn it, are you in there?"
Romantic Times BOOK CLUB
Buffalo Lachlan promised his dying best friend he'd find his long-lost twin sister. Buff has been following clues and leads for more than a year. His search takes him to A'itoria, Oregon, in the winter of 1873.
Siri Trogen, a maid at the hotel where Buff is staying, is facing every mother's worst nightmare. Her children have been stolen from her. Suspecting that Siri is actually the missing heiress he's search- ing for, Buff soon loses focus of his own mission in order to help Siri find her missing children.
As they begin their search, they are attacked by someone who is out to kill them. Siri must face her fears and Buff must fight his wanderlust to build a life with Siri and her children.
This is the best book yet in this memorable series. The characters are well developed, and Glad has a good eye for detail and has done her research. The realistic resolution satisfies.
Blue Iris Journal
Talented author Judith B. Glad hits another home run with the new addition--the sixth--to her ongoing saga of the Lachlan clan. The books in this series of superb historical romances not only provide a colorful and thoroughly researched look into life and society in the American frontier but usually feature some little-known and often- ignored element of the period. The Lost Baroness is no exception.
The hero of this latest book is Buffalo Lachlan, younger brother of spirited Katie Lachlan of Noble Savage. Buff is on his way home after several years during which he worked as an agent for the British government. On one of his missions, a close friend and colleague, the son of a Danish nobleman, pleaded with dying breath for Buff to try and find his long-lost sister. She had been kidnapped as a child and, presumably, sold into white slavery.
That quest has brought Buff to the raw Columbia River port of Astoria, Oregon. Years before, about the time his quarry was kidnapped, a shipload of young women ran aground near the town. All but one of the "cargo" was accounted for. Buff thinks it is possible the missing girl is his missing baroness. He is particular intrigued when he sets eyes on Siri Trogen, a young Swedish widow staying alive by working as a maid at his hotel. She looks remarkably like his late friend--the two were twins--but it's easy to pass off the assumed resemblance as wishful thinking.
Siri has her own troubles. Her mother-in-law vanished some weeks earlier, taking Siri's two children with her. She has no money to search for them herself nor is she likely to acquire it at a job that is barely a step above indentured servitude. When a series of events pull her and the handsome newcomer together, she ends up telling him her plight. To her surprise, he offers to help.
However, there are complications. The missing heiress's remaining brother has no desire to share the family wealth, and he has hired a vicious killer to ensure Buff fails--one way or another.
The barely tamed life of a West Coast frontier seaport comes vividly to life as Ms. Glad weaves a complex romantic thriller with enough razor's edges and Swords of Damocles for half a dozen stories. As always, her characters are both charming and exasperating in their contradictions, quickly involving the reader in their lives and ensuring we will follow their journeys to the last page. And, while there is nothing particularly unique about her villain, he is nevertheless drawn with sufficient depth to make one's flesh crawl.
The Lost Baroness is a mystery wrapped in history and tied with a sparkling ribbon of romance. In fact, it is several mysteries, which just makes reading it all the more of a pleasure.
Elizabeth K. Burton
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