With her father gaming his life away, Julia Verdell must marry for money, and soon. Her one beau is dragging his feet about offering marriage, but at a ball she meets her old childhood friend, Major Edward Blackthorn.
For Julia, seeing Edward brings back fond memories of youth and of her girlish love for him. Edward is on a secret mission for the Duke of Wellington, and this gives him a chance to renew his friendship with Julia, which slowly turns to love.
Upon her father's death, and with Edward gone on a mission, Julia finds herself in dire straits. When Sir Perran Blackthorn, Edward's uncle, offers marriage she accepts. Julia tries to put Edward from her mind and be a dutiful wife. But when he returns she realizes her mistake in marrying the domineering, obsessive, and vengeful Sir Perran.
When Julia and Edward discover Perran's fine hand in keeping them apart, things come to a horrifying conclusion.
Though VANQUISHED, Ms. King's debut historical, keeps the readers in the time period, faster pacing and less attention to detail would have been appreciated by this reviewer. SWEET (Aug. 384 pp., $4.99)