Wednesday, December 22, 2010
How to Wed a Baron
Justing Wilde, the Bad Baron, does what the Prince Regent tells him to as he needs to receive a full pardon for a duel where he killed a man who had slept with his wife. Even though he paid an enormous sum to the Regent he does not expect that to be the end of anything and his fears are confirmed when he is told he must marry the King of Austria's ward, Lady Alina. From the first moment he sees her coming down the gangblank off her ship, he knows that Lady Aline is special and that life will never be the same. Alina hopes to escape her aunt back in Austria after her father and mother both died when she was young, and she hopes to meet her mother's English family. Justin knows there has to be a catch and is not surprised to learn that Alina is the niece of the man he killed in the duel and that there is someone out to kill her. Her guard, Luka, informs him that she has a tenuous claim to a strip of land that is also desired by the Inhabar Novak. He figures out that he supposed to kill the Inhabar for going after Alina, taking the blame from the Austrian King and eventually be hung for murder by his own Regent.
He has to keep Alina safe and he engineers a complex series of instructions that leads him from one house to another, hiding with his friends and their wives. He meanwhile is running around the country trying to meet with the Regent himself and with the Inhabar and he rendezvous with her and her entourage while at a gypsy encampment. She can see that there is something Justin is hiding from her and even though he claims they cannot possibly have a happy life together, she wants to go through with their marriage- after they have settled all of the problems surrounding her. He is furious with himself as he knows he has to kill the Inhabar in order to keep the woman he loves safe, but he also knows that he in turn will be killed for doing so. He tries to think of ways for them to be together, but continues to make arrangements for her after he dies. However, things are not as they appear and there is someone who has been lying to them about Alina and only when Justin puts a stop to that man can he hope that Alina and he will be able to have their happily ever after.
I felt like neither Alina nor Justin was a completely developed character and there were so many holds in this story. We learned about them through the assassination plot but it really did not serve as a complete picture of who they were or why they fell in love with each other or why I should like to read about them. Alina liked pretty things, she found Justin very attractive, and in an act far too stupid to live, she stepped out of a carriage in the middle of a shootout because she though she could shoot back. I was willing to overlook that because it was supposed to show that she wasn't a simpering miss, but when that is all we're really shown of a character it's hard to remain interested. Justin is of course the tortured hero dealing with his dark past as an exiled lord trying to get back in his sovereign's good graces by killing traitors and enemies. He spent so much tim shipping her off to friends and running around trying to figure out what was going on, that I felt like he didn't spend enough time with Alina for them to fall in love, and not enough non- intrigue inspired time for my tastes.
The sex between them was very hot and well written, even if it was too brief and near the end was hinted at and then cut away before anything exciting happens- that really annoys me. In Michaels typical style there is a lot of banter in this book; between Justin and Alina, between Justin and his foppish manservant, Wigglesworth, between Justin and the Regent, between everyone really. I did not really like it in her previous works but in this one it served as some much needed lightheartedness in the midst of so much murder and mayhem. However, it did serve to make Justin seem rather frivolous and there were times I wanted him to hold a genuine conversation with someone that was not just about assassinations. Secondary characters, especially Wigglesworth, were absolutely wonderful and written about enough to be humorous but not enough to get annoying. I do wish there had not been so much wonderfulness surrounding characters from previous novels, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. The murder/ assassination plot was very well done and had the most intriguing twist to it but it really did completely take over the book.
Rating: I didn't dislike the book, but I did not precisely have fun reading it because there was far too much I didn't like and not enough that I did.