Ondine by Heather Graham

Ondine by Heather Graham

Ondine by Heather Graham
On Sale Date: November 29, 2016
First published January 1988
Adult Fiction, Historical Romance
Zebra, 480 pages
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 4 Stars


When handsome Lord Chatham rescued the golden-haired Ondine from England's gallows, he demanded only one thing in return . .. her hand in marriage. In gratitude, Ondine consented to his plans -- yet refused his touch.

Though his smoldering desire aroused her own secret temptations, Ondine defied her mysterious husband. Until suddenly, in the notorious court of Charles II, the sapphire-eyed beauty was plunged into a web of danger and desire, jealousy and romance. As secrets exploded, and swords clashed in vengeance, the strangers in marriage became partners in passion, and lovers on fire.

ONDINE is a lush historical romance novel which was originally published in 1988 under Heather Graham’s pen name Shannon Drake and has recently been reissued with a gorgeous new cover. 

Fans of Shannon Drake/ Heather Graham can fall in love all over again with Ondine and Warwick’s passionate love story. New readers are treated to a historical romance that still remains a classic at heart. I could not resist rereading ONDINE as Drake’s novels were some of my first HR reads and I’m happy to say that I was once again swept away by her writing. 

The story is set in 17th century England during the reign of Charles II with the protagonist Ondine being cast from nobility when her father is falsely accused of treason and murder. About to be hung with a noose around her neck, Lord Chatham rescues Ondine from England's gallows. He demands only one thing in return . .. her hand in marriage. In gratitude, Ondine consents to his plans -- yet she refuses his touch. 

This is a tale full of mystery and intrigue. I forgot just how masterfully Graham plotted the two intersecting mysteries of Warwick’s wife and her suspicious death (which falls under very mysterious and almost Gothic circumstances) and that of Ondine’s father who is framed by a traitor with charges of treason. Added to this, there are the dangers of King Charles II's notorious courtly life where jealousy and desire mix, surrounding Warwick and Ondine with intrigue at every turn.

Secrets, vengeance, and passion make for a tumultuous romance. Warwick and Ondine are both withholding information from each other causing misunderstandings and mistrust. More than once they clash in heated verbal and physical sparring. Their passion is as strong as their pride and I was reminded that this was a story originally marketed towards the Bodice Ripper generation, one that I grew up on, devoured and loved, yet may not be your average historical romance of today. 

Warwick is all alpha male, both an aggressive and possessive hero and Ondine is the epitome of a spitfire heroine. ONDINE is full of heady seduction and the eventual building of trust and love. The path for Warwick and Ondine is not smooth in the least but it is their growing connection and eventual love for each other that makes them such an unforgettable couple. 

Filled with mystery, lush courtly life and details of Charles II reign, and a love/hate romance, ONDINE brings together classic elements of the romance genre I grew up on. King Charles II plays a strong secondary role and touches of Gothic fiction are sprinkled into the mystery with ghosts, masked figures, secret passageways, and a surprise villain. Drake also uses allusions fairy tale and myth to give ONDINE an almost magical feel. Beauty and the Beast are referenced throughout (Warwick, of course, being the beast) and even Ondine as the watery creature of myth.

ONDINE is a classic historical romance of its genre and holds many elements that make it such an epic romance. Recommended to fans of Drake/Graham’s writing and new readers who enjoy strong and wilful couples. Detailed and rich, passionate and tumultuous, this is a romance not easily to forget.