I wanted to like this book so much. I have worked in the law for ages and I am studying (very slowly) for my law degree - you can imagine how excited...moreI wanted to like this book so much. I have worked in the law for ages and I am studying (very slowly) for my law degree - you can imagine how excited I was to see that the heroine in this was a Regency female lawyer!
What let this book down for me was the attitude towards intelligence, beauty and traditional gender roles. The story revolves around law-obsessed Esme, her solicitor brother and his friend and associate Quintus as they attempt to investigate a mystery. Esme was from the very first shrill, annoying and constantly "proving" her knowledge by telling her lawyer brother and his associate what the law was. When she and the hero are sent on the quest, she is ambivalent until the hero points out that she should be grateful to her brother for letting her do so much in the firm.
And that was when my head exploded. LET HER do all his drafts? She's saving him a fortune! Yes, sure, it is fortunate for her that he has non-traditional ideas about her value as a woman, but he still just gives her housekeeping money, not a wage, and saves a fortune by not having to hire a junior or a clerk to do all the drafting work Esme is doing.
But anyway, Esme and Quintus pretend to be married and she wears prettier clothes and they go to some parties, all the while Esme tries to hide both her intelligence and the fact that she secretly loves wearing pretty clothes. She occasionally slips because of the force of her personality but she's falling in love with Quintus and being a Lady so that makes things easier. *sigh* And Quintus talks a good game about being attracted to her intelligence, but there's an awful lot of word count spent on what she's wearing and her boobs and how these two things make him feel. And then at the end I feel that while lip-service is given to her dream, she has willingly accepted a far more traditional gender role that undermines a lot of who she was to begin with.
I felt during the whole novel nothing much needed to be done by the characters to solve the mystery. Sure, the protagonists undertake tasks designed to help them gather information, but (without going into too much detail) in the end they could have done nothing at all and the only thing different would be they wouldn't have been forced into close proximity long enough to fall for each other.
So I would say that while there was nothing wrong with the writing per se, I didn't enjoy the book overall. Some of the lines were brilliant and I actually really liked Quintus (though I would have liked a little more of his and his family's back story). 2.5 stars. (less)
I read this straight after The Devil Earl and I enjoyed it much more. I loved the hero and I loved the relationship that develops between him and the...moreI read this straight after The Devil Earl and I enjoyed it much more. I loved the hero and I loved the relationship that develops between him and the heroine as she attempts to solve the mystery of the missing necklace. In particular, several parts of the book made me laugh out loud.
But it wasn't perfect. In particular, the heroine at the beginning of the book says she is a devotee of Plato, giving the impression that her methods of deduction are all about logic. And then she goes on to try and solve the crime based solely on intuition, leg-work and things she was fortunate enough to overhear. She complains that no-one takes her seriously - I had trouble taking her seriously. I was also fairly ropable when at the end of the book (view spoiler)[ she decides that her life-long dream to be a famous detective and be known for her "expertise" in solving mysteries was completely satisfied by being respected by the man she loved. Look, I have love and it's great. But it's not the be-all and end-all. I hate to see women in books put down their dreams because a guy enjoys their company. But it's completely cool, gals, because there will be heaps of domestic mysteries for her to solve at his estate. In the very last paragraph there's a suggestion that she will continue doing what she does, but I felt sad that she seemed to give up her ambition. (hide spoiler)] In addition, it was frustrating how she completely ignores the obvious solution for about half the book.
But the problems weren't overwhelming and I enjoyed this for being sweet and for having the relationship develop because he found her unusual and started wanting to make her happy by helping her achieve her goals, not just because he wanted to see her with her clothes off. A nice romance. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
As mentioned by several other people, the hardest thing to get over in this book is the constant comparisons you keep drawing in your head with George...moreAs mentioned by several other people, the hardest thing to get over in this book is the constant comparisons you keep drawing in your head with Georgette Heyer. It did feel like the author said "You know what would be awesome? If Sylvester had more explicit sex scenes and smugglers!"
That said, on the whole I enjoyed this book. It definitely made me interested to read more by the same author. (less)
This was an excellent overview of the Regency period, told in an engaging fashion and covering most aspects of life at the time. There was a great...more3.5
This was an excellent overview of the Regency period, told in an engaging fashion and covering most aspects of life at the time. There was a greater focus on the political than I was expecting and I learned a lot about some of the riots that occurred around that period.
If I had one issue, it was that details were not pinpointed enough in time. This would probably not be an issue if you were reading for enjoyment, but if your novel is set in a specific year you will need to look up almost everything to see when it started/finished.
More of a 3.5 - I liked the main characters, but felt the misunderstanding between them was a bit facile. I'd just like to give props to the ending -...moreMore of a 3.5 - I liked the main characters, but felt the misunderstanding between them was a bit facile. I'd just like to give props to the ending - I'm so glad (and this might be a spoiler) (view spoiler)[ no-one found out they were secretly royalty and she wasn't a bastard herself - they were just who they were. That was what drove me nuts about the less-that-social-equals one I read earlier this week. While some of the characters in this book were a bit one-dimensional (for example, I think the Father was a bit of wasted potential) the ending doesn't pull its punches. (hide spoiler)](less)
The starting premise of this book (and series) is absolutely brilliant. After a massive bucks night party a group of dukes (is there a collective noun...moreThe starting premise of this book (and series) is absolutely brilliant. After a massive bucks night party a group of dukes (is there a collective noun for Dukes?) awake, bleary eyed, and are ordered by the Prince Regent to go forth into the world and make amends for their vaguely-remembered night of debauchery.
The Duke of Kress, having misplaced his fortune, is on his way to his own personal exile when he discovers Countess Vanderhaven hanging off a cliff and planning revenge on the husband who left her there to die. All in all this story was very enjoyable - the characters were well-developed, the plot was interesting, the chemistry between the two main characters developed naturally and the writing was witty and fast-paced.
I will definitely be getting the next book in the series! (less)
Laura Martin, who has fled from her husband, now lives in a small cottage making her living providing medical assistance to the local population, all...moreLaura Martin, who has fled from her husband, now lives in a small cottage making her living providing medical assistance to the local population, all of whom believe she is a widow of untarnished reputation. But when her profession brings her to the attention of the curious and attractive Earl of Beaulieu, Laura fears for both her secrets and her resolve.
I think what I enjoyed most about this book was it's willingness to take chances. There is a lot of tragedy within the plot, but it is all dealt with in such a matter-of-fact manner that it doesn't detract from the main romance. My main criticism would be of the Earl himself. While Laura was an interesting and well-rounded character, it felt at times as though the Earl couldn't quite decide what type of hero he wanted to be.
(view spoiler)[ The other issue I had was that the timing felt all wrong when it came to the ending. Laura believes she is pregnant with the Earl's baby, but then she is kidnapped and abused and she miscarries. It is hinted that in addition to the broken bones she suffers, her husband had also intended to force himself upon her. She escapes, is rescued, wakes up recovering in a strange house, goes to London to enjoy part of the season where she is flirted with by some of the season's most eligible bachelors... wait, what? It could be that this took place over a longer period of time than it seemed to in my head, but it felt a little inappropriate, character-wise. Especially as then she goes on to attempt the seduction of the hero. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the main characters, and I liked that the problems the two faced had some depth. The growth of the attraction felt relatively natural, and the scenes with the two of them together were well-handled. Very enjoyable :) ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I really enjoyed this book. It's a really unique premise, and I was so eager to see what happened I read the entire book in one sitting.
(view spoiler...moreI really enjoyed this book. It's a really unique premise, and I was so eager to see what happened I read the entire book in one sitting.
(view spoiler)[ Parts of this book were really funny. I laughed out loud when the heroine Beatrice, not realising the Taris is blind, is concerned because she thinks he's a drunkard and he just goes along with it to spend more time with her. I also liked that Beatrice builds her place in society based on intelligence and logic, and that whether or not she is actually "beautiful" is for the most part left obscured by the multiple perspectives we get on her appearance.
The main thing I had difficulty with was suspending my disbelief that Taris was in fact that blind and was still able to conceal it so completely from society. At the beginning of the book I had real problems convincing myself he would be able to ride a horse. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, this was a book I would definitely read again. I loved the characters, I loved the progression of the romance and I loved the writing. I've accidentally read this series in reverse, so I'm looking forward to reading the first book and seeing how the eldest brother fared. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)