Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Touch of Scandal

One Touch of Scandal by Liz Carlyle 1019

Grace Gauthier grew up in North Africa with her father, who was a French army officer, and after both of her parents death she takes up working as a governess for a mercantile family in London. She grows to like her employers step children and he decides that they should get married even though they are not in love and she is excited at the prospect of having a comfortable life of her own, even if it is passionless. But when he is murdered she is the prime suspect as the investigator discovers a note where her employer supposedly cancels their engagement. She seeks help from a male friend at a club but when he is not there Adrian, Lord Ruthveyn, steps in and offers to help. Adrian is a member of a very select gentlemen's club that only admits members who have a special mental gift or ability. It has brought trouble to Adrian but has also made him invaluable to the British government in the past.

Adrian has no plans to marry ever since his special gift allowed him to see how his now deceased wife would die, but he is very drawn to the beautiful young woman. He has his own problems with the investigator who is targeting Grace and to keep Grace safe he brings her into his house as a governess for his two nephews. It isn't long before he has his own suspects on the case and is desperately trying to convince everyone that Grace is innocent. And with Grace under his roof he finds it impossible to stay away from her despite all his intentions and even though Grace insists she does not want to marry he feels both guilty of what he is doing and terrified at the idea of losing her. Then when he finds out that she too might have the gift and be descended from the special people he knows he cannot lose her. He must prove to everyone that she is innocent of murder and prove to her that he wants her love forever.

I did not feel as though I gained very much insight into Adrian and what I did get was through the eyes of his special powers and I wanted to just shove it aside and figure out what was beneath them. Grace, on the other hand, was great as she wanted so badly for a normal, settled family life with her own children. Her motives were explained so well in the beginning that it made no sense when she wanted to run away to Paris and live on her own and all of a sudden wanted love with Adrian. His dedication to proving her innocence was noble and it was the only time I really felt like he was a "good guy." The relationship between them was rather sedate and just kind of chugged along and while the sex was good sometimes there was also a spiritual/ tantric moment during one that annoyed me. I was intrigued when one of Adrian's male friends had a moment of sexual tension with another man, but nothing happened.

The investigation into who killed Grace's employer was incredibly interesting to me and I really wanted to find out what had happened and why Grace had been framed- Carlyle did a good job drawing the reader in to this aspect of the book. I did not really talk too much in this review about the club Adrian was a part of and what they did and all the myths surrounding it and his special abilities to foreshadow what will happen. It did take up a lot of space in the book and I desperately tried to ignore it, even when it was brought to play in the bedroom. For the most part it confused me or made me role my eyes as I am just really not a fan of the mystical and magical in romance novels. Carlyle worked hard to make it a well integrated part of the novel and she did succeed, but it ended up hurting the book because I could not get into it at all and by the end it had completely taken over and I really didn't like it.

Rating: Good promise but the book got progressively worse the more the "special powers" were brought into play and at the end I was just racing toward the finish line.

No comments: