“A Gypsy’s Vow”, by Bonnie Dee
I believe it is no secret that I enjoy Ms Dee’s writing very much. This short story, published by Silver Liquid Books, is no exception. Set in England in 1902, “A Gypsy’s Vow” is a sweet little tale of romance-and lust. A little warning, then: the romance is sweet, but there is graphic sex within.
Here is the blurb:
A proper, level-headed woman. A handsome, wandering rogue. Sparks fly between them, but does the innkeeper’s daughter dare leave behind all that’s familiar to run away with a gypsy?
After managing her drunken father’s inn for most of her adult life, Bess is presented with an offer of marriage from a member of the local gentry. She should be thrilled at the proposed match with a man so far above her station, but knows Lord Wallace is more interested in the income from her successful business than he is in her.
One day while shopping in the market, she meets a charming stranger who shakes up her world. She’s unprepared for the onslaught of powerful feelings Alexi rouses in her as he woos her with passionate intensity. Now Bess must decide what she truly wants from life and how she chooses to live her future.
Bess Andrews is the innkeeper’s daughter, caught between her dreams and her fears. At twenty three she’s considered by many to be perilously close to spinsterhood, yet Bess is also in a difficult social position. Marrying above her station would certainly give her a claim to gentility; however, given Lord Wallace’s extravagant ways such a union is not only not the solution to any of her problems but is also highly inadvisable in many ways. Still, there doesn’t seem to be a choice, since her position, precarious to begin with, is fast becoming untenable.
Then, Bess is presented with the reality that she does have choices. Meeting Alexi shows her that her life is hers to do with as she chooses-whether the false sense of security of the familiar, or the likely dangerous (if not outright disastrous) thrill of the unknown-it is up to her.
The story is told from Bess’ perspective, giving the reader a front row seat to her internal struggle. Having been responsible for both her and her father’s livelihood for years, as well as the wellbeing of the inn’s employees, it would have been quite absurd to make such a decision an easy one, and Ms Dee doesn’t short change either the characters or the reader.
In fact, I am torn whether the best part of the story is Bess’ self awareness and growth, or the ending. Then again, the latter reflects the former, so perhaps it’s one and the same.
7.75 out of 10