Megan's Reviews > If I Fall

If I Fall by Kate Noble
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's review
Apr 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 4-stars, fiction, historical-romance
Read from April 03 to 07, 2012

A sweet friends-to-lovers story mixed with a bit of espionage adventure. Noble does a great job, as always, with building nuances into her character's feelings and actions, her espionage plot is above average (if still not too complicated nor too difficult to guess the secrets and mysteries) and embedded into Real! Life! History!, and she makes smart decisions in writing a masked caper: namely, the character trying to pull off an assumed identity knows it's ridiculous and he's doing it for the wrong reasons, but then things get out of hand). Friends-to-lovers is my favorite romance plot, so I was super excited for this aspect, as well as the navy stuff (what, I love ships and sailing), and I really loved the unique way that the childhoods of Sarah and Jack intertwined.

I also enjoyed the story's thematic work with identity. Both Sarah and Jack had to deal with losing, and changing, what other people thought of them and how that affected what they thought of themselves. Whether it was Sarah trying to be the Golden Lady (and not the Girl Who Lost a Duke), or Jack dealing with no longer being with the navy and yet getting snide looks from the ton in regard to his career, the idea of how to be who you were, knowing who that was, and dealing with who other people wanted you to be, that was all well-done. The additional layer of assuming the identity of the Blue Raven added a lot of extra fun, and I didn't realize how much I missed the Blue Raven intrigue aspect of Noble's series, and I liked where this book took that angle.

On the downside, the book started off slowly, and I'm not really a fan of Philippa (sorry! she's my least favorite of Noble's heroines!), so her presence and orchestration of Sarah's rise to the top of the ton was a bit tedious and unappealing to me. On the other hand, speaking of returning characters, Marcus has a lot to do here, (view spoiler) was murdered omg and there were plot consequences, and there was a nice scene with Byrne hitting multiple shady characters over the head with his cane. I love that guy. I also liked the quiet implied reference to his addiction (a reference that was for the readers, since it went over the main character's head) and that it was something he was still dealing with, because that's reeeeeally true to life. See, I like the sense of realism that pervades Noble's books, knowing that a HEA for these characters doesn't mean that everything is rainbows and roses, but it does mean that they're in love and committed to their partners. I kind of love that the returning characters do things like argue really angrily (Philippa and Marcus, and I totally think Philippa was in the right).

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I have a hard time describing the tone of Noble's books; they're not quite on the fluffier side of historical romances, despite having a good sense of humor, and they're not particularly steamy or steadily sexy, though I think the characters have interesting romantic dynamics. I think they're very character-driven books despite (for the most part) also being very embedded in espionage and political suspense plots. So. It's a mixture that succeeds for me, but I can see it not working for other readers.

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