I guess I haven't learned my lesson yet because, after the Candice Hern book I read out of order, I started a trilogy with the last book once more. EvI guess I haven't learned my lesson yet because, after the Candice Hern book I read out of order, I started a trilogy with the last book once more. Every time I talk about my favourite westerns I mention Lorraine Heath's Texas trilogy. Such wonderful reads! I've read a few other books by her over the years but none has touched me as those three books and to be honest it had been a while since I picked up one of hers. A comment on one of the groups I belong to made me want to pick up something of hers and this was what I found in the TBR pile.
I was a bit unsure when I started it. First of all who comes up with these titles? I think they are just plain silly! And then the premise... This is a romance so I knew from the beginning that the h/h would end up together but having your heroine start as a married woman just doesn't make me run to pick it up. But on I went and now I'm glad I did.
For those of you who have read the Texas trilogy this is not as good as those but it did remind me, in terms of intensity of feelings and guilt of the characters, of those books. Although his friends idea at first seems idiotic to him, Ainsley eventually agrees because he loves Jayne and feels partly responsible for her unhapiness. That decision, though, costs him because he will be giving up his child and he will be invlved with a married woman, which he has vowed never to do. Jayne on the other hands feels keenly that she is betraying her husband and to make it worse with the man responsible for his problem.
I had no doubt that Jayne and Ainsley would fall for each other and eventually accept those feelings but I had a hard tnme understanding why Waloirt was doing it. He professed his love for his wife but always seemed very cold when dealing with her. I did like it that we just find out the answer to that towards the end because that way Jayne and Ainsley situation seemed even more difficult to deal with.
I did like Ainsley a lot more than I liked Jayne. He seemed more alive, with more depth and so more interesting. Once again I thought that I would very much liked to have met him in the previous books, especially as his brothers seem equally interesting. The ending dragged a bit longer than I think was necessary but overall it was an engaging read.
I love Anne Perry's Christmas stories. She is a wonderful writer and her characters always come alive. Besides she masters the Victorian setting likeI love Anne Perry's Christmas stories. She is a wonderful writer and her characters always come alive. Besides she masters the Victorian setting like no one and it is not difficult to imagine in our heads the places that she describes. I found this one a bit different from her usual stories because it deals mostly with London's underworld and I wasn't familiar with most of the characters. In these stories she usually uses secondary characters from her other series, in this case the Monk series.
"Squeaky" Robinson, "Dr" Crow and the young Bessie are an odd set of characters that join Sir Henry Rathbone in trying to find his friend's son Lucien in time for him to spend Christmas with his family. Lucien has fallen prey of the worst vices and has disappeared in the city's shadiest neighbourhoods.
While they look for him we are treated to a tour of the London tunnels where every vice and perversion can easily be bought, where addicts beg for opium or cocaine and are kept under their dealers’ command. Perry's brilliant writing means that we can really imagine what it must have been to visit those places and meet such characters. Their search quickly turns into a murder mystery that they must solve before finding Lucien. And nothing guarantees that he will want, or that he will be allowed to, return home.
Although Perry's books are never light reads I found this one a bit darker than usual. I also missed not having a strong female character in the lead and I think that may have contributed to make it an even darker read. There's also the fact that here we are really shown the contrast between those living miserably on the streets and the affluent world of Sir Henry Rathbone. As with most of these Christmas stories it deals with guilt and an eventual redemption.
Although the story ends with a positive note there is no doubt that this is not your usual light and cosy Christmas read. It is, however, an interesting read and I did enjoy reading it.
I love to read books where people have to work to make their relationship a success. When I started reading romance I was happy just with a traditionaI love to read books where people have to work to make their relationship a success. When I started reading romance I was happy just with a traditional HEA where the h/h fell in love, had to overcome some sort of conflict and marry. But in time I started to enjoy more and more the stories about what happened next. Either a couple falling in love after a marriage of convenience or having to work through their differences after a period of estrangement.
So when I had the chance to pick this one up I was really happy because it seemed just perfect for me. I was a bit wary of the heroine because I had heard so much about how she had betrayed the hero and behaved very badly... I do like my heroines to be at least likeable. I don't always have to relate to them but I want to like them and if I don't, I know that will very probably affect my judgment of the book.
When Camden and Gigi meet they are very young. They feel attracted to one another but Camden is decided to marry someone else. Gigi wants him because he is the heir to a dukedom but it is her feelings towards him that make her do what she does and eventually causes their estrangement after the wedding. So they have spent 10 years apart...
Now Gigi is in love with someone else and she wants a divorce. Her request brings Camden home. To set her free he wants an heir first. Absurd as it may seem Gigi agrees, they will try for a year and after the baby is born they will get the divorce. I thought it fairly obvious that there were still strong feelings between them, the animosity is great and potentially explosive but one feels that if they just managed to talk and heal they would be a perfect pair. Because despite feeling betrayed by Gigi's actions, Camden never once believes he would have been better matched with someone else.
The past is shown through flashbacks and I loved the fact that we get to see them grow and change. Despite the fact that they still love each other after ten years, they actually moved on with their lives while they were away from each other. If Gigi hadn't asked for a divorce one wonders when they would have met again...
I spent most of the story wishing they would solve their differences and I did feel that it could have been wrapped up a bit earlier. There is a secondary romance involving Gigi's mother that, I thought, started really well but then looses a bit of its strength. Overall it was a story that I enjoyed and, since I know the author has more similarly themed stories, I can't wait to pick up the next one and see if she manages to keep it fresh.
For a couple of years now that Anne Perry's Christmas books have been a favourite read of mine during the Holiday Season. They are historical mysterieFor a couple of years now that Anne Perry's Christmas books have been a favourite read of mine during the Holiday Season. They are historical mysteries, usually featuring characters of her most famous series, and they deal with themes like redemption, forgiveness, love, family bonds... all those feelings usually related to the festive period.
In A Christmas Grace the main character is Emily Radley, Charlotte Pitt's sister (from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series). Despite looking forward to the Christmas season in London, she finds herself travelling to Connemara in Ireland at the request of an estranged Aunt who is gravelly ill.
Aunt Susannah leaves in a coastal village and soon Emily gets to meet its few inhabitants. There's a general sense of fear over a coming storm and Emily can't help but wonder why they are so worried. When the storm finally comes there is a shipwreck and only one man is saved. The villagers reaction leaves Emily puzzled until she finds out that 7 years before another ship was wrecked and another man was saved... one that was later murdered by someone from the village... Susannah's request is that Emily discovers who did murder that man 7 years ago so that peace can come to te village once more.
Emily, who had been missing the mysteries she was involved in with her sister in the past, starts her own investigation of who the victim was and what might have lead to his murder. She gets to know the people and their secrets and eventually follows a trail left by Susannah's late husband to know more about what really happened.
Although this was an easy and fast read I have to say that I found it less moving and interesting than previous stories in this same series. The mystery was a bit thin, we don't get to know the victim very well, there was little suspense involved and in the end it felt a bit unresolved. Perry's description of the scenery was ver interesting but the characters never really came alive. I think there should have been more about Aunt Susannah, her past with her husband and something about the celebration of Christmas.
December is always a busy month and there's nothing better than a light, entertaining historical read to pass the time. The abundance of mysteries ofDecember is always a busy month and there's nothing better than a light, entertaining historical read to pass the time. The abundance of mysteries of the cosy variety that has appeared recently have made that one of my favourite genres for when I want to be entertained but not think too much. This time my choice was the first in the Dra Alexandra Gladstone Mysteries by Paula Paul.
The book is set, I believe, in Victorian England during a house party at the Earl of Dunsford's country estate. Dra Alexandra Gladstone is called upon to attend to a young maid who has apparently tried to murder the Earl believing him to be the killer of her lover. Alexandra tends to the girl and makes her go to her room believing her to be harmless but the next morning the Earl is dead and the girl, Elsie, has disappeared.
Alexandra is somewhat of a rarity, a female doctor when females weren't allowed to study medicine. Paul explains that by having her been taught at home by her father and well accepted in the village because everyone knows since she was a girl. To tell the truth Alexandra sounds a bit too sensible to be true in a Victorian heroine but I could deal with that.
Earl Dunsford's guests don't waste time in blaming the doctor for not having drugged the girl, and stopped her from murder, but Alexandra quickly realises that the earl was not stabbed, as the girl was threatening, but strangled which would imply someone stronger. With the help of Mr. Forsythe, one of the Earl's guests, Alexandra decides to try to find out what really happened. Soon it is apparent that the earl wasn't exactly a nice person and that more than one of his guests could have a motive for murder.
The appearance of several "ghosts", and walks in the foggy night, does give the story a bit of a gothic look and I couldn't help thinking that sometimes Alexandra was a bit too daring. In one of those I was so engaged in the story and waiting for something to happen that I immediately deduced who the murderer was... and in the end I was proven right.
So if you are in the mood for something light, fast paced and with a bit of a gothic feel this might just be the book for you!
Silent on The Moor, the third Julia Grey mystery is a gothic and, it seemed to me, an homage to Wuthering Heights and the Brontës (they are mentioned…Silent on The Moor, the third Julia Grey mystery is a gothic and, it seemed to me, an homage to Wuthering Heights and the Brontës (they are mentioned…). There’s a big house partly in ruins, family secrets and a villain working in shadows.
This third installment of the series starts with Lady Julia Grey determined to follow Brisbane and force him to acknowledge his feelings for her. To do so she decides to accompany her sister Portia when she leaves for Brisbane’s new estate in Yorkshire, after being invited to help him organize the house.
On arrival they discover that the former owner’s mother and sisters are also living in the house and that Brisbane seems more remote than ever. Julia does get him to acknowledge some feelings for her but on the next day he lives on business leaving them alone in the house with its inhabitants. There’s an oppressive atmosphere in the house – Grimsgrave – and Julia’s curious nature soon leads her to try to find out more about the former owners - the Allenbys. They seem an odd family, too proud of their once royal blood that they preserved by marrying within the family. The last Allenby men were totally careless of their duty to protect and provide for their tenants. As for women, Lady Allenby is very devout and full of dignity, her daughter Ailith is a beautiful mysterious woman who shows Julia around and Hilda, the youngest daughter, is a bit of a wild child who only gets along with Julia’s brother Valerius.
Then Brisbane returns and an attempt is made on his life. Who tried to murder him and why? Was it really the person who confesses to the poisoning? There are a lot of secrets to uncover before they find the true culprit…
I really liked the atmosphere of the story, suspenseful and intriguing and I also liked that we got to know a lot more of Brisbane’s past. He has seemed a bit illusive in the previous books and now we know where he is coming from and what happened to his mother. I also liked Julia, she was sensible (most of the time) and determined to have him and proceeded accordingly not even letting the occasional jabs of the Misses Allenby get in the way of what she wanted. What I didn’t like was that in the end it felt that the only reason Brisbane was staying away from Julia was the money. And that that problem was too easily solved. I wished for a different solution, maybe his acceptance of their different status and fortunes.
I won’t say I liked this one as much as book 2, which was a really engaging murder mystery with a very fast pace but, I also enjoyed reading it with all those secrets from the past that kept affecting and tormenting everyone involved…
I can say that I'm looking forward to the next book but by now it is as much because of Julia's siblings as it is because of her and Brisbane. I quite liked them!
And, since the heroine's last name starts with a G, this is my G entry for the ABC Challenge ...more
Another book that I had not expected to enjoy as much as I did and that, together with Gaskell's Mary Barton is making me rethink the decision not toAnother book that I had not expected to enjoy as much as I did and that, together with Gaskell's Mary Barton is making me rethink the decision not to join the 18th and 19th Century Women Writers challenge in 2010.
Agnes Grey is a small and simple book. It's a story about a young woman's dreams and feelings. The beginning about when she is a young girl and then, after she grows up and her parent's suffer a financial set back, about the time she spends working as governess with two different families. The book is filled with messages of moral behaviour and honesty of character. Agnes faces some difficult and sometimes humiliating situations at the hands of the children she teaches and her parents but she tries to face her days with serenity and she still finds the time to help those less fortunate.
Although her life's conditions are miserable as she is isolated and makes very few friends, she eventually knows Mr. Weston, a curate, who she finds a worthy man and starts thinking of even if her pupils do their best to keep them apart. I suppose that I did like the book so much because I really liked Agnes Grey as a character. And this was an easy, not always happy but charming read.
There's much to like in Loretta Chase's latest book and I am happy that I finally decided to pick it up. The setting is 19th century Italy, especiallyThere's much to like in Loretta Chase's latest book and I am happy that I finally decided to pick it up. The setting is 19th century Italy, especially Venice, I liked that. Then the characters are a courtesan and a jaded spy who, instead of spending the day torturing himself about the past, has a pretty cynical and humourous view of the world and how the others see him. How refreshing!
It's been five years since Francesca's husband divorced her and ruined her socially, she had to flee England for the continent and, decided to live her own life and get back at him, Francesca becomes a successful courtesan. She can support herself without belonging to any man. When she left her husband she brought with her some compromising letters, he had betrayed his country and worked for Napoleon and those letters prove it.
So, not only Francesca's husband is desperate to get those letters back and employs several people to find them but also James Cordier and his superiors want the letters so he can unmask the traitor who was responsible for his imprisonment during the war...
I really enjoyed the relationship between James and Francesca and how they dealt with the attraction between them, they were both mature people and questioned that attraction and were it would lead them. James knows he has a job to do and that it must be above his feelings for her. In fact he just wants to finish it and leave because he is tired of the life he leads. Francesca has a good life, she doesn't want to jeopardize that and even after she finds out what James is there for she questions his motives and why should she help him. I thought she shows the sense of self preservation that most heroines don't have and most need.
This book is part of a series and I will definitely look for the others.
I had loved North & South, liked Cranford and I must confess that I was totally unprepared for my reaction to this Mary Barton. I loved it!!!
I amI had loved North & South, liked Cranford and I must confess that I was totally unprepared for my reaction to this Mary Barton. I loved it!!!
I am a bit undecided on what to mention first, Mary Barton focus on Mary who is apparently the main character but more than that is focusses on the industrial side of the city of Manchester in the 1840s, on the relationships between Masters and workers, but especially on the workers living conditions. The misery that forced them to desperate acts from seeing their families starve.
I think Gaskell is brilliant analysing human nature at its best and at its worse, I loved the voice of the narrator who narrated the story yes, but also explained what needed to be explained and reflected about what leads men to do what they do.
But the second half of Mary Barton is also a murder mystery. A man is murdered and another is accused and we know, like Mary does, that the accused is innocent. Fortunately something can be done to prove his innocence and we follow her as she tries to do exactly that.
Gaskell gives a voice to the desperate, the famished, the miserable, even to the prostitutes of the time. This is not a happy book, although is does have a happy ending, but I closed it with a happy sigh because I love these big social analyses and Gaskell tells the story with a fast paced compelling way that kept me hooked till the last page.
I have really enjoyed Tasha Alexander's first two books of Victorian Mysteries featuring Lady Emily Ashton as the amateur sleuth. In this third storyI have really enjoyed Tasha Alexander's first two books of Victorian Mysteries featuring Lady Emily Ashton as the amateur sleuth. In this third story lady Emily has to solve a murder to help the, wrongly accused, husband of her friend Ivy and that leads her to travel to Vienna in the aftermath of Kronprinz Rudolph's suicide and embroil herself with some unsavoury people from the anarchist movement.
One of the things I like best about this series is that it has a very cosmopolitan feel. Lady Ashton travels abroad in each book and sees different societies. I really like Emily although sometimes she comes across as a bit too fearless. But she is mostly sensible, likes art and history and had the good taste of falling in love with Colin Hargreaves... clearly a very intelligent woman!
Emily and Colin are attending a house party hosted by the disagreeable Lord Fortescue. Emily is feeling somewhat insecure as Colin's former mistress is also in attendance and it is obvious she has not forgotten him. When Lord Fortescue is murdered Ivy's husband, Robert Brandon, is the main suspect and she asks for Emily's help in finding the real murderer. While Colin is off doing secret work Emily follows a lead to Vienna in the company of Cecile du Lac and Bainbridge.
I did like how Alexander described the Viennese society and it's underworld of plots and secret societies fighting for different political alliances. I'm not sure I was effectively convinced by her portrayal of Sissi but I also wasn't annoyed by it. I also liked that the answer to the mystery was not too obvious; it wasn't in his recent enemies or in his current behaviour although you could say it was due to his general behaviour towards people. My only complaint is that I think the story lacked more Emily / Colin scenes. I think it would have brought more depth to the characters. Hopefully that will happen in the next book. ...more
I had some expectations regarding book 2 of Lady Emily Ashton’s mysteries and I am happy to say that they were fulfilled.
After her love story with herI had some expectations regarding book 2 of Lady Emily Ashton’s mysteries and I am happy to say that they were fulfilled.
After her love story with her husband in the first book, Lady Emily is now a widow whose main interest is to pursue her Greek studies, to help the British Museum to enlarge their collection of works of art, to spend some time with her chosen friends and to continue her relationship with Colin Hargreaves. I liked this Emily even more than the one in the first book. She is more self-assured, less influenced by others opinions but not naïve to think that she can do as she pleases without following the rules of polite society and understanding the power, and danger, of gossip.
I thought it interesting that the main plot was about a pretender to the throne of France. I could just imagine everyone trying to gain his good graces just in case the monarchy is restored and the Bourbons reclaim their birthright. While society is busy throwing balls in the honor of the supposed French heir, objects known to have belonged to the late Marie Antoinette are being stolen from their rightful owners. When one of the victims of those thefts is found murdered Lady Emily can’t resist starting to investigate. Soon she finds herself studying Marie Antoinette’s letters with as much interest as her Greek and she seems to have acquired a new admirer who keeps invading her house and leaving her little notes.
At the same time, one of Lady Emily’s friends is being forced to marry the supposed French heir, another wants her help with a make believe courtship so her parents will leave her alone, still another is having trouble in her marriage and Lady Emily’s mother is quite decided that she must marry again. All these entanglements lead to some vicious gossip that threatens to harm her place in society.
Besides enjoying Emily as a character, I also really enjoyed her relationship with Colin. He is not always present, in fact, one could say that he is always there when she needs him but he never overwhelms her or her investigations. He respects her intelligence and her resourcefulness and he is determined to woo her and marry her when she feels ready, not before.
I also like how Alexander manages to convey us to the Victorian world. Besides society’s behavior and moral codes, she introduces references like the Baedeker’s Guide, the Rosetta stone, and Thomas Cook & Sons that I found interesting and clever. Not to mention that she actually has Queen Victoria as a secondary character, there is nothing like tea with the queen to restore Lady Emily’s reputation!
The action does progress slowly but I thought that fitted the story very well, a more rushed story could not have such subtle or intellectual references or they would be lost. This was the right pace to appreciate all the details involved.
The mystery part was interesting and surprising but I think the book is mostly about Emily. How can we not enjoy a heroine who spends much of her time in libraries and who reads as much classical literature (Homer) and popular fiction (Mary Elizabeth Braddon) ?
I've been looking forward to read other books by Mills after greatly enjoying her medieval series but I'm afraid this one did not please me at all.
EliI've been looking forward to read other books by Mills after greatly enjoying her medieval series but I'm afraid this one did not please me at all.
Elise Rand is a Cit's daughter, she doesn't move in the same circles as the ton ladies but she has no problems with that. She is busy fighting for social reform and helping the ones less fortunate than she is. Through her father, Bat Rand a self made man that became rich making bricks; she meets Patrick Hamilton, a famous barrister. Bat seems to think he will need a barrister in the future so he invites Patrick to dinner and offers him money for future services, he also throws Elise at him but Patrick is nearly engaged to Lord Dunster's daughter despite finding Elise very attractive.
The dynamic in Elise and Patrick's relationship changes when her father commits murder. Now, we know he did it right from the very beginning, Patrick suspects it but Elise has no clue, she believes her father innocent. Due to Bat Rand's lack of cooperation Patrick refuses to defend him and he ends up manipulating Elise to offer herself to Patrick so he will defend him despite his refusal to tell him the truth.
And that's when it all began to go terribly wrong for me. Elise was a nice girl, a proper girl; would she really offer herself as payment? I had my doubts especially because her father was not a nice man that, I thought, would inspire such filial devotion. And then there was Patrick, would he accept such an exchange? He was a good man in the sense that he tried to defend those less fortunate than him whose poverty would lead them to the gallows or to hang just because the judge thought that that was the best way to end up crime even if the accused had only stolen a loaf of bread. I didn't buy that Patrick would accept her offer because of his character but also because I did not feel that there was much chemistry between them from the beginning. So I was quite surprised when he accepted and proceeded to take advantage immediately.
My view of their relationship was immediately coloured by this lack of belief and the other big thing that annoyed me till the end is that Elise never found out that her father was a murderer, an abuser of women and was, in fact, the complete opposite of the things she fought for. While she fought to give prostitutes a better life, he believed the women were not even human anymore so their deaths really were no crime. I really thought Elise should be informed of this and Patrick could have told her. Usually bad guys in romance land are villains who oppose the main character's relationship. Not so, in this book, the villain was what brought them together but to be honest I would have preferred it not to happen this way. Oh and I guessed fairly early what was behind Elise's previous fiancé's murder. That she sacrifices so much for someone who harmed her so much really made feel uncomfortable.
What I did like in the story was it's portrayal of London. After seeing Garrow's Law it is not difficult to imagine the poverty, the vice, the unfairness that that society was and yes Patrick Hamilton seemed a bit inspired in William Garrow. This is why I'm giving it a 3 instead of a 2, and because Mills knows how to write, she just didn't write a story I believed in.
Dominic Corde is thrilled to “fill the robe” as substitute vicar in the village of Cottisham, while the Reverend Wynter is away on a three-week ChristDominic Corde is thrilled to “fill the robe” as substitute vicar in the village of Cottisham, while the Reverend Wynter is away on a three-week Christmas holiday. Glad to escape his dreary London flat and a less-than-satisfying job as church curate, Dominic and his beloved wife, Clarice, set off for what they hope will be a lovely winter getaway.
Upon arrival, in the midst of a frigid, exceptionally snowy season, Dominic and Clarice are welcomed by warm, hospitable neighbors and enchanted by the cozy, inviting vicarage. Everything seems almost too perfect. Dominic's only concern is how he will be received by the congregation, who hold the Reverend Wynter in such high regard. But as Clarice soon discovers, she and Dominic have much more dire matters to worry about. It turns out that the Reverend Wynter isn't on holiday at all - and that something very sinister has transpired.
As a blizzard leaves Cottisham treacherously snowbound and the isolated village swirls with unsavory secrets, Dominic and Clarice suddenly find themselves in deadly danger.
Another really nice Christmas mystery by Anne Perry, this one dedicated to new beginnings.
As in her other books she is very good at delivering period detail and the cosy and not so cosy sense of small villages, in with the cosiness of helping neighbours goes hand in hand with less than welcoming and well meaning characters.
In this story Daniel Corde, a secondary character in the first book of the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, arrives at Cottisham to replace the vicar who has left on a Christmas holiday. Unfortunately soon his wife Clarice finds the vicar dead in the cellar and they both decide to find the truth about his death. Vicar Wynter was apparently well loved by all his parishioners and his murder is quite unexplainable.
Corde knows he has to prove himself as worthy of following in Vicar Wynter’s footsteps, even if he has to dig up some unpleasant secrets, and wishes the Bishop would allow to stay in Cottisham indefinitely as this is the perfect opportunity for him and Clarice to start building their lives away from London and their less than fortunate circumstances there.
Perry is also great with the character development and I always finish these stories with a sense of understanding and sympathy towards the main character. Although the mystery might not be very complex it is a wonderful cosy read and a treat for fans of the Pitt series who want to know more about some of the secondary characters. It closes with Corde’s holiday sermon and a message of hope and forgiveness which seemed fitting.
A Wallflower Christmas is much lighter in tone than Kleypas previous books in the Wallflower series. Besides the main couple there is so many characteA Wallflower Christmas is much lighter in tone than Kleypas previous books in the Wallflower series. Besides the main couple there is so many characters popping up that their story lack a bit of depth and development.
It is, however, the perfect sweet Christnmas story. The appearance of all the other Wallflowers and their husbands can't help but being an added bonus for all who enjoyed that series and the fact that have decided to play matchmakers for Lilian and Daisy's brother Rafe just adds to the fun.
Rafe as always been at odds with is father. Now he has a chance to play the good son and be welcomed in the family fold again but for that he has to marry the girl his father chosen. A british young lady. Rafe has no problem's with that since he figures he eventually has to marry and there's no one else holding his attention. The problem is that he can't help but being intrigued by his fiancee's cousin and companion - Hannah - and he finds himself enjoying her company and actively pursuing her.
Most of the story is set in Lilian and Westcliff's country home during the Christmas season and I can see no better setting for a story like this one than a house party. A very enjoyable read where nothing really stands out but it has all the makings of a comfort read with so many cherished characters to revisit!
Superintendent Runcorn--who Anne Perry fans will remember as William Monk's ex-boss--is feeling rather lonely during his holiday on the remote, snowySuperintendent Runcorn--who Anne Perry fans will remember as William Monk's ex-boss--is feeling rather lonely during his holiday on the remote, snowy island of Anglesey, off the north coast of Wales. However, he is suddenly called into action when the sister of the local vicar is discovered murdered and draped over a gravestone in her brother's churchyard. Investigating this tragic crime with the assistance of the beautiful Melisande gives him just the opportunity he needs to spend time with an upper class woman who normally wouldn't give him the time of day. Interweaving the original Christmas story with her own holiday tale, Perry also explores the meaning of Joseph's secondary role compared to that of Mary and Jesus.
I have realised while I read this book that I’m reading them out of order (this is book fifth in the series and the third I read) hopefully I’m not loosing much because they don’t have the same main characters, the Monk series is also mentioned but with just enough detail for us to understand that Inspector Runcorn (the main character) is a secondary character there.
The story starts with Runcorn spending Christmas alone in the Island of Anglesey, he comes across as a sympathetic and vulnerable man who is trying to forget is love for Melisande Ewart. Unfortunately not only Melisande and her brother are also spending the holiday season at Anglesey but he is soon made known by her brother that she is engaged to be married.
While Runcorn is still trying to find a way to deal with his feelings of unexpectedly seeing Melisande again he finds Olivia Costain’s body, the vicar’s sister, who has been murdered. He is asked to help in the investigation and soon finds that Olivia was an attractive young woman with a restless spirit and a fair share of admirers that she kept turning down.
As he tries to dig deeper into who Olivia was and how could she have become a victim of a violent crime of passion Runcorn has to speak with Melisande, her friend, and her brother, one of Olivia´s admirers. He is constantly in a struggle with himself, wanting to ask the right questions but feeling himself not as social adept as to be able to speak without offending or breaking the polite rules of the Victorian world. He also has to face some prejudice against the lower classes he belongs to and the policeman work he does.
All in all it is an interesting story because Runcorn is complex, fragile, unsure of himself, much like all of us are one time or another. It’s his character and his musings that kept me reading, his views on murder and violence, his helpless love for Melisande and I was quite happy that he got the ending he thought was forbidden to him.
A nice read that made me want to continue the Monk series.
It's already January but I am still working on one of my Christmas Challenges so I have at least a couple of Christmas reads planned for this month.
IIt's already January but I am still working on one of my Christmas Challenges so I have at least a couple of Christmas reads planned for this month.
I think I put this one on my TBR pile after reading the review in some blog and the occupation of the characters intrigued me. The hero is an engineer and the heroine has taught herself engineering and his now helping her father build a bridge. There is past history between them, seven years before the hero, Jack was the heroine's father protégée and they were in love but due to Emma's mother interference they never actually talked about their feelings and Jack left. Now he is back, rich and seeking to buy Emma's father company.
This was the type of story that relied on a big misunderstanding. The hero thought the heroine never answered his letter when, in fact, she never received it, and more misunderstandings follow because they are now very different people from what they were but especially Emma keeps assuming she knows what Jack is about and is usually not good. That was annoying and I felt like sitting them both down and making them speak.
There's also a secondary mystery about what is really behind Emma's father illness. I guessed what it might be fairly early and her father was another character that I disliked because he could have been a lot more honest with her.
The saving grace is that, in the end, they at least acknowledge that they are very different persons from what they were seven years ago and that they love what they are today, I just had some problems believing they do. In the end I thought that it could have been a much more rewarding story than what it was.
Since I already had this one in the TBR pile when I finished Silent in The Grave I decided to pick it up immediately after. I’m happy to report that ISince I already had this one in the TBR pile when I finished Silent in The Grave I decided to pick it up immediately after. I’m happy to report that I found this one much better.
Lady Julia Grey returns from Italy where spent some time with two of her brothers. Now one of the brothers has married without informing their father and having known that the father orders them all home. Besides a new sister in law Julia also takes home an Italian count that has been paying court to her. They arrive a few weeks before Christmas to find that Julia’s father has quite a few guests at home including Nicholas Brisbane, of whom Julia has heard nothing for the past months but that she has been unable to forget.Unfortunately Julia and Brisbane’s reunion isn’t a happy one, none of them is expecting to meet the other and Julia suddenly finds herself facing Brisbane’s fiancée, which is quite a surprise. Julia’s father seems to be behind this odd plan to reunite them but one is left thinking how devious is his mind to plot this when Brisbane is betrothed.
I was unable to determine whether Julia is consciously avoiding the truth or if she is just hopeful but it seems she immediately decides that the betrothal must be a scheme and decides to investigate what really is going on. Also in the house are Julia’s penniless cousins, Lucy and Emma, Lucy’s fiancée with his secretary and the Vicar and his Curate among others.
When one of the guests is found murdered and a family member is found to be the obvious suspect Julia and Brisbane decide to conduct a private investigation to discover what was behind the crime and who actually committed it. At the same time someone else disappears and Julia is still determined to find out about Brisbane’s betrothal at the same time that one of her brother’s shows a less than innocent interest in the fiancée.
It seemed to me that there were even more plot twists in this sequel than in the first book but this time they worked perfectly and I was kept interested and curious about what was going on. To tell the truth I couldn’t stop reading it to find out who had done what and when. There are a lot of characters mentioned but they all seemed to add something and contribute to the final climax. Unlike my reaction when I finished Silent in the Grave I now can’t wait to get my hands on Silent on The Moor.
had high expectations for this book after reading very good reviews all over the internet and one of my friends recommending it , but the truth is th had high expectations for this book after reading very good reviews all over the internet and one of my friends recommending it , but the truth is that It didn’t quite live up to what I was expecting.
Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane meet over the body of her almost dead husband. Although the doctor thinks he died of a heart condition common in his family Brisbane tells Julia that he thinks her husband was murdered. He had received some threatening letters and had hired Brisbane to discover who was behind it. Unfortunately Julia doesn’t believe him and only a year later does she find some evidence to corroborate his story and decides to start an investigation.
Julia has a very large and unconventional family and among the servants we also find some interesting characters that help creating a good background for the story. I did like the Victorian setting, in fact that’s what convinced me to pick it up, but the mystery in itself did not work all that well for me. I thought the action was to slow paced, it dragged a bit in the middle, and was left cold by Julia’s problems and worries. In fact I started to feel like there was too many plot twists and turns and the action would have worked better if that had been tidied up a bit. I did guess the murderer earlier on but not the motive and definitely not the way the murder was committed. That was very surprising I must say.
In the end I felt Raybourn showed great promise but this story fell a bit short for me.
When I read the back cover of this book I was immediately interested. There's something very appealing and romantic about getting to know someone by hWhen I read the back cover of this book I was immediately interested. There's something very appealing and romantic about getting to know someone by his letters and personal papers. Unfortunately for Lady Ashton her husband is already dead when she starts to get to know him that way.
For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her overbearing mother, who was set on a grand society match. So when Emily's dashing husband died on safari soon after their wedding, she felt little grief. After all, she barely knew him. Now, nearly two years later, she discovers that Philip was a far different man from the one she had married so cavalierly. His journals reveal him to have been a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector who, to her surprise, was deeply in love with his wife. Emily becomes fascinated with this new image of her dead husband and she immerses herself in all things ancient and begins to study Greek.
Emily's intellectual pursuits and her desire to learn more about Philip take her to the quiet corridors of the British Museum, one of her husband's favourite places. There, amid priceless ancient statues, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret involving stolen artefacts from the Greco-Roman galleries. And to complicate matters, she's juggling two very prominent and wealthy suitors, one of whose intentions may go beyond the marrying kind. As she sets out to solve the crime, her search leads to more surprises about Philip and causes her to question the role in Victorian society to which she, as a woman, is relegated
I found this one a very enjoyable story. I liked to know how Emily starts to admire her husband and is curious enough about his personal hobbies to start making inquiries, read the Iliad and studying ancient Greek. I particularly enjoyed the part about the British Museum and the gentlemen interest with classic sculpture that seemed to lead to multiple copies of the objects in exhibition. One strong point was how Alexander starts all chapters with an entry of Phillip's diary. It made it all the more poignant.
However this interest and the fact that she finds many original pieces in her country house lead her to believe Phillip may have been involved in illegal activities of exchanging the original pieces in the museum for copies. She decides to investigate further and develops a personal interest in the art.
At the same time Emily, a young and now very rich widow, learns to enjoy the freedom she now has and her behaviour sometimes shocks her mother whose biggest ambition seems to be for her daughter to get married again. Emily has one suitor almost from the beginning - Andrew Palmer - and also develops a friendship with the man who was her husband's best friend - Colin Hargreaves. They will both influence her in different ways. She also has strong female friendships with whom she will attempt some rebellious gestures, like drinking port with gentleman after dinner.
I liked the Victorian world portrayed here and the mix between mystery, historical fiction and romance.
This was my first read by Anne Perry. I had heard of her before but I only got really curious after Rosario started posting about her books and makingThis was my first read by Anne Perry. I had heard of her before but I only got really curious after Rosario started posting about her books and making them sound so interesting.
His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detective. His mirror reflects a face that women would like, but from the way people respond to him when he returns to the force, he senses that he has been more feared than loved.
The case Monk is given is particularly sensational one: the brutal murder of Major the Honourable Joscelin Grey, Crimean war hero and a popular man about town, in his rooms in fashionable Mecklenburg Square. It’s an assignment to make or break an investigator, for the exalted status of the victim puts any representative of the police in the precarious position of having to pry into a noble family’s secrets – and one made all the more difficult by the fact that Monk’s lost all his professional skills along with everything else. Suspecting that his superior, the wily Runcorn, hopes he will fail, he returns to a world where he cannot distinguish friend from foe, where he must grasp desperately for any clue to his own past and to the identity of the killer.
Slowly the darkness begins to lighten, as he recognizes traces of his forgotten life. The gentle beauty of a woman who seems to know him. The dangerous informers he tracks down in the city’s unsavory rookeries. The growing hostility from the dead man’s aristocratic family. The revulsion he feels when he enters the dead man’s rooms. And each new revelation lead’s Monk step by terrifying step to the answers he seeks but dreads to find.
The premise seemed a really interesting one, a man with amnesia tries to reconstruct his life and what he was without admitting to coworkers and family that he has lost his memory. Added to that is the fact that he is a police officer and is put in charge of a murder investigation as soon as he goes back to work.
It is as interesting to see Monk's investigation and it's development as it is to get to know him and his doubts about who he was before the accident. So there's quite a bit of introspection and self analisys in this book that I found very appealing as he tries to found out who he was by other people reactions.
The mystery is very well plotted and written. I would never have guessed what was behind it nor the murderer's motives. Rather than a general reason the murder is very much connected to the period of the time and Perry really brings to life that reality. It's fascinating to follow Monk through his investigation and uncover the clues that keep him, and us, guessing at the murder.
Another this I greatly enjoyed was the set of secondary characters, especially Hester and Evans. I'm looking forward to start the next book in the series to see what awaits them in the future.
When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters andWhen an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.
Wealthy beyond most men's dreams, Cam has tired of society's petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter….
I've been expecting Cam Rohan's story ever since he was introduced in the Wallflower Quartet. Since then he has become St Vincent's right hand man and a very wealthy person. He first meets Amelia when she goes to the club looking for her brother. Although there's an attraction they both think they wont meet again. But Amelia's brother just inherited a title and an estate that borders Stony Cross Park, where Westcliff and Lilian live and where Cam is often found visiting. They do meet again in the most extraordinary circumstances with Westcliff and Cam in the middle of an experiment that almost ends badly for Amelia as she is shot at.
Although fighting the attraction they spend more and more time together and after her house burns down and the family has to move to Stony Cross Park Cam is decided to help them rebuild and eventually decides to give in to his feelings.
I loved this story! I loved how there's an initial attraction between Amelia and Cam but it's only after they get to know each other better and become a sort of friends that there's an evolution in their relationship (except for an early stolen kiss). I loved the interaction between the males of the story, Cam, Westcliff and St Vincent -I loved revisiting Lilian and Evie and finally I loved Amelia's family and how they always manage to land in serious scrapes. I did feel like knocking her brother upside the head once or twice and I'm looking forward to see what Kleypas is going to do with him.
Amelia was a fabulous heroine, she was unconventional and different but I never felt she wasn't a woman of her time. She was, but with a different upbringing and values which enabled her to accept Cam as a person and not just as a gipsy. Cam was wonderful, as I was expecting, trying to avoid the unavoidable and once decided on the right path relentless in his pursuit of Amelia.
There's a small mystery subplot but it didn't add much to the main story in my opinion.
There were many memorable dialogues in the book, Kleypas creates great characters and it's always fun to see the banter between them or the clash of several alpha males. A keeper!
Another novella about Christmas and in this case about doind the right thing...this is my second novella by Perry and once again it's very good.
HenryAnother novella about Christmas and in this case about doind the right thing...this is my second novella by Perry and once again it's very good.
Henry Rathbone arrives to spend Christmas at the Dreghorn family manor house near Ullswater. He is greeted by the news that the master of the house, Judah Dreghorn has slipped while crossing a stream in the grounds of the estate in the middle of the night, and drowned. Not only this, but Ashton Gower, recently released from prison, is slandering Judah's name, claiming that his family rightfully owns the estate and that the forged deeds for which he was imprisoned were in fact genuine. To Rathbone and the two remaining Dreghorn brothers, also returning to the Lakes for Christmas, Judah's mysterious death and Gower's outrageous claims seem inextricably linked
From the beginning we know that there is some mystery to uncover. Everyone believes Judah was a good person and there could only be another explanation to his actions than dishonesty. At the same time his death might not be accidental, but his the one responsible the most obvious suspect. To find the answers to these quenstions Henry Rathbone investigates what really happened 11 years before and what knowledge Judah had of it and which course of action was he planning. The part I enjoyed the most was precisely after the truth is found out the dilemma the characters face in to do or not to do the right thing. Especially because it wasn't not their fault that the wrong happened but they will be the one's to suffer the consequences. I really like the psycological "games" Perry makes the characters play and my only regret is that there are not the center of the story.
I do hope Anne Perry continues to write theses because they really are a treat during the holiday season. The only drawback is that most of the main cI do hope Anne Perry continues to write theses because they really are a treat during the holiday season. The only drawback is that most of the main characters in these stories are secondary characters from her two series - the Inspector Monk and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt. So it happens that from time to time I find out something that is going to happen in books of those series that I haven't read yet. For instance in this story the main character is Charlotte Pitt's grandmother and I ended finding some things about her that I didn't know yet since I only read a few books in that series.
Mariah Ellison, the mentioned grandmother, is very unhappy because she will have to spend the holiday season with her former daughter-in-law who is now married to a younger actor, Joshua. Mariah is very bitter and finds fault with almost everything. Things only get worse when it is announced that one of Joshua's relatives will come to spend the holiday season with them because her family already has guests. The relative, Maude, reveals herself as an original woman, a traveler who has spent most of her time abroad and has really enjoyed the different cultures she has known.
While Mariah doesn't exactly feels any empathy with Maude the truth is that when she is found dead in her bed the next morning she suspects murder was done. She even discovers how it could have happened. And she starts feeling that she may have some things in common with Maude and she was in fact a woman to be admired. So she decides to go and meet Maude's family, tell them what happened and possibly discover who the killer is.
In the process Mariah Ellison discovers a few truths about her, a lot of secrets in Maude's family and that joy and good will, not to mention good people, actually exist. She finds the spirit of Christmas! Just lovely!
Bluegate Fields go a bit deeper in the Victorian underworld than most of Charlotte and Pitt's stories. Unlike the previous story where Charlotte and hBluegate Fields go a bit deeper in the Victorian underworld than most of Charlotte and Pitt's stories. Unlike the previous story where Charlotte and her family took center stage, in this one it is Pitt, his boss and his young colleague who are the primary investigators. Charlotte is still a much needed figure though as she is the only one who can find the answers needed in society's salons.
The story opens with a body being found in the sewers. Called to the occurrence Pitt eventually concludes that the naked body is of a young gentleman, a teenager really, and the police doctor tells him that there is evidence of homosexual activity. And so starts an investigation that first is about who is the dead boy, and secondly what happened to him and who killed him.
There were several things that I really enjoyed about this book. There were the class distinctions that are present in every story, but here more so because we are dealing with those with the lowest status in Victorian society - the ones who sell their bodies for a few pennies. Who live in misery, either because they are born to it or because fate brought them there. After the first body is found with signs of what was then a hanging offence it was immediately obvious that almost everyone was happy to let the matter rest. How in society's eyes it was preferable to find an easy scapegoat that would allow closing the subject with relative discretion, instead of looking for the real culprit.
Pitt refuses to stop investigating, despite his superior's orders, and with Charlotte's help he eventually finds the murderer. I was disappointed in that we never have a clear idea of the victim. If he had indeed been a victim of abuse or a willing participant. And in that we never have a final confrontation with the killer. As it had happened previously I ended up asking myself if that was another cover up or indeed the real thing.
I found this book a really interesting read.It is set as usual in the Victorian period. Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould attends a house Party with some fr I found this book a really interesting read.It is set as usual in the Victorian period. Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould attends a house Party with some friends, there is some gossip and some less than friendly emotions going round and when one of the guests - Isobel Alvie - makes a cruel remark to another, that will apparently lead to the suicide of the latter.
As Isobel is shunned and condemned by all except Vespasia the owner of the house as the idea of proposing an expiation journey for Isobel - to take the dead woman's last letter to her mother who leaves in the highland of Scotland - and if she is sucessful everyone will abide by a pact of silence of not speaking of it again nor condemning her socially.
I found the idea of the expiation of a crime very interesting and found myself wanting to know more about it. As Vespasia and Isobel start their journey to find Gwendolen's mother not only is the journey dangerous but is also an emotional dificult one as Isobel will have to tell her part in the tragic events. Vespasia is the character we get to know better, she is a sensible and kind woman (sometimes a bit too kind to be real) of her time who will gain a better knowledge of herself with this journey. And as the journey progresses not only is Isobel's behaviour analysed but they also start suspecting that more things may have been tormenting Guendolen.
If I have a complaint about this story is how short it was, a bigger story would have allowed for more analysis on the character's feelings and the burden of guilt that most of them seem to carry.
There is something to be said about a character that starts a story not remembering who he is and without and family and close friends to help him. ThThere is something to be said about a character that starts a story not remembering who he is and without and family and close friends to help him. That is exactly what Anne Perry did in the first book of this series and that is what really attracted my attention to the books. In this second book the Inspector Monk is still unable to remember his past but has he moves through London he finds glimpses of familiar things and an image of him that seems very different from who he is now. (Would a kind soul me know if he ever remember and in which book?)
In this story Monk is called to investigate the murder of a young lady, Octavia Haslett, the daughter of Sir Basil Moidore has been stabbed to death in her own bedroom during the night. From the beginning, it is clear that Sir Basil and most of his family is mostly concerned with hushing the scandal and finding a guilty party as soon as possible. Even after it seems it is one of them who must have done it, the family still believing it must be one of the servants.
When Monk finds himself unable to find evidence pointing to someone he asks for the help of Hester Latterly, one of Miss Nightingale's nurses who was also a character in the previous book. I really like Heather! She is dedicated to her job, honest and has a hard time controlling her temper when she perceives an injustice. Despite her efforts while nursing Lady Beatrice, Octavia's mother, Heather is unable to find the culprit and when a bloody knife is found in one of the footmen's room the case seems closed to all but Monk and Heather. Refusing to arrest the footman leads to Monk being fired from the police force but Heather doesn't give up and manages to interest Oliver Rathbone, a lawyer and a very interesting character that I hope to see in future books, in the case.
I just love Perry's view of the Victorian world and there was lots of information about it in the book. In this particular story, I very much enjoyed her portrayal of the higher and lower classes. The differences in behaviours, beliefs and social status. Much of the book is set in the Moidores house and the atmosphere is oppressing, intriguing and full of suspense. I couldn't wait to get to the end of the story and find out who had done it and I must say that the final twist surprised me. I loved how they followed all the clues to reach the right conclusion about what really had happened and who was responsible. And now I can’t wait for the next book.
It never ceases to amaze me how well Perry conveys my idea of Victorian society - or maybe I should say how well she convinced me with her portrayal.It never ceases to amaze me how well Perry conveys my idea of Victorian society - or maybe I should say how well she convinced me with her portrayal. Small worlds where everyone knows everyone else and their worth. Where everyone believes they know each other's secrets but where most manage to conceal strong passions, hidden desires and, sometimes, hideous crimes.
In this fifth installment of the Pitt series, Charlotte and Thomas have moved to a new house with their daughter Jemima. Charlotte is pregnant again, and more worried about the house chores than going about in society, when a letter from her mother requests her presence and her help.
Caroline has misplaced a jewel with a compromising picture and, unsure of what to do but feeling threatened by an invisible presence asks Charlotte to give her some assistance. While on society calls it is apparent that more trinkets have been stolen from the neighbouring houses and the visits give Charlotte the opportunity to get to know her mother's friends and acquaintances. When one of them is found dead they can't help but wonder whether her death is connected to the thefts and whether Caroline could be in danger of a blackmailer or a murderer.
With Thomas being called upon to investigate the murder, and Charlotte working within society to discover the secrets that might have been hidden from a common policeman, it is no wonder that soon some of the secrets start to be revealed.
I particularly liked the ladies detecting skills and how everything seems to fall into place with each new secret uncovered. I also enjoyed the subplot about Caroline's feelings and how it made Charlotte examine her own feelings and look at her mother as a woman. I thought that the explanation for the first missing girl was rather funny - as was Charlotte's discovery of her fate - and it certainly contributed to lighten the mood of an, otherwise, dark and gloomy novel. Some books you close thinking that all will be well afterwards but that is not the case here, there's more pain and despair than actual justice in the end and Charlotte, who uncovers the whole truth, decides to let it rest.
Although I can't disagree with the ending I also can't help but feel that this was the easy way out in terms of a solution. I think that Pitt, unlike Charlotte, wouldn't have let it lie.
This book is part of the Rogues of Regent Street series but I think this one can be read as a standalone. This is the story of Sophie Dane, a young woThis book is part of the Rogues of Regent Street series but I think this one can be read as a standalone. This is the story of Sophie Dane, a young woman who, 8 years before our story begins as eloped and married a gentleman of the ton only to find herself at the hands of an abusive husband. Helped by her brother, one of the Rogues, she runs away, divorces him and goes to live in France as a result of the scandal.
She has been living as a companion of a lively and flamboyant woman who decides she wants to travel to England. Sophie does try to keep a low profile but she is recognised by some less than kind young ladies. However she starts being pursued by Trevor Hamilton, Lord Hamilton's son which gives her family hopes that she might marry and be accepted by the ton again.
While Sophie finds polite, if a bit arrogant, she doesn't feel any particular attraction to him. She is given to walks in the Park where she meets a young man with whom she feels comfortable and that is later revealed as Trevor Hamilton's half brother and Lord Hamilton's bastard son.
There's a bit of a mystery surrounding Caleb, Trevor's half brother, we never know much about him and who his mother was and I think the story would definitely have been better if we had known more about his and Sophie's past. Just to make them more rounded characters and so that could feel more empathy towards them.
As it was I can't say I found them very interesting or that I cared about their problems. Sophie finds herself forced to choose between Trevor, her family's choice, and Caleb, the man she loves. And then there's the mystery of what really ails Lord Hamilton and why doesn't Trevor wants Caleb near him. Everything is solved to everyone's satisfaction in the end but I found it all very bland and truth be told, one week having after read it I'm having trouble remembering exactly what happened. I guess that says it all.
The first of my rereads and, I'm happy to say, a winner! I really like the "bad boy saved by the love of a good woman" story. If said bad boy doesn'tThe first of my rereads and, I'm happy to say, a winner! I really like the "bad boy saved by the love of a good woman" story. If said bad boy doesn't take himself too seriously and has a bit of self deprecating humour all the better. This book has that and also an innocent heroine who proves that she can be shy but she is definitely not stupid.
Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!
Sebastian’s reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden’s good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.
But Evie’s proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine’s callously discarded broken hearts—which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions…or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.
Both these characters have shown up previously in the two books of the Wallflower series. Especially in the last one Sebastien shows a dark side that leaves us wondering if he will ever be redeeemed. In this book not only do we realise that he is sorry for his actions but he also did it a bit without thinking it through and without the heart to really go through with his threats. Now he is slowly destroying himself with guilt and drink when Evie arrives. I write this review thinking I really must go and reread the other wallflower books, Sebastian doesn't really show a dark side in this book, he is more like a naughty boy and I'm left wondering if Kleypas lightened his character a bit.
From the moment Sebastian accepts Evie's proposal of marriage and they are off to Gretna Green two things happen. Evie decides she must avoid physical contact to better be immune to his charm and shows a strong will that we wouldn't have guessed she possess. And Sebastian shows more and more concern with her well being even before he starts to show a very obvious physical attraction to her. As Evie reveals herself as a very determined and strong willed young woman Sebastian let's his guard down and not only admits to his attraction to Evie but undertakes the job of putting Jenner's Club working again thus admiting a need to fulfill his life with more than just pursuing women and gambling.
There are a few villains in this story, first Evie's family and then an ex-employee of Jenner's with a mysterious grudge, who will add some exciting moments to the story and provide the opportunity for Sebastian to reconcile himself with his old friend Westcliff and with Lillian. But the story would be perfect even without the secondary mystery as the main thing is Sebastian's growth as a person and how that is accomplished through is relationship with Evie and her actions that force him to admit his feelings for her.
Another thing I greatly enjoyed in this series is the friendship between the four women. They are really different from one another and their scenes together work just great.
Callander Square is book 2 in Anne Perry's Thomas & Charlotte Pitt series. Once again it brings us to Victorian London, it's rich neighbourhoods fCallander Square is book 2 in Anne Perry's Thomas & Charlotte Pitt series. Once again it brings us to Victorian London, it's rich neighbourhoods full of secrets and where everyone seems to have something to hide.
Murders just didn't take place in fashionable Callander Square, so Inspector Pitt's well-bred wife Charlotte couldn't resist finding out why one had. Suddenly there she was, rattling the closets of the very rich, listening to backstair gossip, and unearthing truths that could push even the most proper aristocrat to murder....
The plot revolves around the discovery of 2 babies buried in the square of a high society neighbourhood. Inspector Pitt is in charge of the case and soon his wife Charlotte decides to do a bit of investigating too. She reveals her plans to her sister who moves freely in high society and they both manage to have the inside facts and gossip of the residents of the square while Pitt has to stick to interrogating servants and ocasionaly the masters.
I really liked this book. It's more about victorian society, how they lived both the servants and the masters, than about solving the mystery. That's part of it yes but we primarily meet the female society with it's social rules of calling and leaving cards, of what's considered important to women and not to men. Actually it's like they have two separate areas of action, the women in the house and the men outside. It's about how men occupied their time and the relationships with the lower classes. The hypocrisy and the double standard that existed. All that is mentioned in the book and sometimes actively explained by the characters. There is a group of very strong female characters who analyse their situations and proceed accordingly - Charlotte, Emily, Lady Augusta and even Adelina Southeron. The men involved seem to be weaker, with the exception of Pitt and Coronel Balantyne, they all seemed to have something to hide. As an exceptional portrait of victorian society I think it's even better than the previous book in this series - the Cater Street Hangman.
Regarding the mystery itself we have little clues to whom might be guilty and in fact had we not been told it wouldn't be easy to guess and especially the reasons for it. After I found out I could only think: How victorian! Charlotte and Pitt are very likeable people and Emily, Charlotte's sister who didn't seem all that nice in the previous books reveals herself a practical and level headed woman in her opinions about society in general.