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ISBN 0-8217-7549-X


A Fallen Woman


Life had indeed smiled upon Lord James Rutledge. A former soldier, his life was spared when his captain took the bullet meant for him. Then, after the war, he inherited vast wealth and a title from an uncle he never knew. Now he has come to Bath to make amends to his captain's beautiful widow and has won her hand in marriage.

The lovely purple-clad, lavender-eyed widow's gratitude toward James quickly blossoms into a powerful love. But will her husband still cherish her when he learns she has been another man's mistress?

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"What we all want from a love story" 

Reviewed by Joan Reeves, In Print

You'll fall for A FALLEN WOMAN, the latest Regency historical romance by Cheryl Bolen. 

There's much to appreciate in this emotional story of a woman's journey from despair to triumph. I particularly liked the characters who quoted evocative lines from popular poets of that day, in a manner as natural as a contemporary character singing bits of a romantic ballad to a loved one. 

Carlotta Ennis, widowed, penniless, and shunned by decent society, grabs your sympathy immediately. She does not make excuses for the bad decisions she's made in the past nor does she cower in shame. Her decisions, at first glance, might make her appear vain and foolish. Yet, her pride that makes her hold her head high and her real heartbreak in having loved, and given herself, to the wrong man creates a real woman readers can identify with. Who gets through life without some mistake in love? The reader soon discovers Carlotta wasn't selfish and vain as much as young, insecure and frightened. Bad decisions led to heartbreak and disgrace. Ms. Bolen peals the layers back and reveals the underlying causes for every mistake Carlotta made without resorting to modern-day labels such as no mother role model and post-partum depression to explain the psychological reasons for Carlotta's actions. 

When James Rutledge, who survived the war because Carlotta's husband died in his place, enters her life, Carlotta decides to use his guilt to her advantage. And thereby hangs the balance of this tale! Carlotta, more mature now, recognizes the honor and integrity in James. He shames her by example, never by words. When she brings her son to live with her, at James's insistence, she's afraid and resistant. It doesn't take long for her frozen emotions to be melted by her son. When she grows to love the little boy, regret for the missed years that can never be regained seizes her. Instead of wallowing in self-pity though, she resolves to be a real mother to him. 

As Carlotta grows and changes, her beauty, once her prized asset, becomes a minor thing in and of itself. Her son, and James of course, are the sun of her universe around which her world revolves. Just as she recognizes this fact, her world is destroyed by her scarlet past. 

The old Carlotta would have lied and connived to keep her husband. The new Carlotta is a vastly different woman who, in her husband's arms, has learned the value of honor. If you don't shed a tear or two, then your heart is as hard as Carlotta's was at the beginning of her story. 

A FALLEN WOMAN has what we all want from a love story--an adorable child, a brave heroine, a hero who loves her just as she is and loves her even more as she grows and changes, and a journey of the human heart. Don't miss it!


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