William Doyle, an English spy stationed in revolutionary France, finds Marguerite de Fleurignac hiding in the remnants of her burned out chateau. She is the key to completing his mission of finding her father and a list of names of English military men he put together. Marguerite is determined to find her father and reunite with her family after the burning of the chateau, which fits right into William’s plans, so he maneuvers himself into escorting her to Paris. Along the way, Marguerite and William meet with other members of Marguerite’s network, La Fleche, that spirits people condemned to the guillotine out of the country. The two also come to admire each others’ intelligence and cunning in navigating the dangerous world of revolutionary France. Their attraction grows as they near Paris and the increased danger therein during the height of Robespierre’s Great Terror.
Bourne has created a wonderful romance between two strong, charismatic characters in The Forbidden Rose. The backdrop of revolutionary France and the Great Terror adds a sense of urgency and suspense to an already strong plot. The depth and relationships with the secondary characters also increases the appeal of this sensual love story.