Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Two Weeks with a Stranger

Two Weeks with a Stranger by Debra Mullins 820

Lucy Severton is excited about the possibilities in her new marriage with Simon, the Earl Devinham, and hopes that they can have a loving and caring union. While her wedding night is passionate and inspires hope, Simon leaves for London the next day. Simon works for the crown and it is his duty to become close to the widowed Isabella Montelluci as his commanding officers believe that she is in possession of a list of loyal Englishman in France that she plans to sell to enemies. He is almost succeeding when Lucy shows up in London since her dear friend Arminda died and left Lucy to deliver a memorial box to the daughter who abandoned her decades before. And she hopes that while in London she can put to rest the rumors she has heard about Simon's affairs and get closer with her husband. Simon is horrified that Lucy might get in his way, but he cannot help but like having her around.

Lucy does not like that Simon continues to pay attention to Isabella even while he cannot keep his hands off her in private. She enlists the help of her new friend, the American Virginia, to bring him back to her by seduction. But when Simon's friends warn her away from London, she decides that she will discover on her own why Simon continues to pretend feelings for this woman. She and Virginia do some undercover investigation and discover that Isabella has some dark secrets of her own. Finally Simon realizes that their marriage is in danger if he does not come clean to Lucy,but even then things are not perfect as Lucy begins to realize that she does not know her husband at all. Suddenly Simon is desperate to put the matter of Isabella behind him so he can get closer to Lucy as he knows he is falling in love with her. But Isabella has one last trick up her sleeve and both Simon and Lucy will have to come to the rescue of each other.

So this story kind of starts halfway as Lucy and Simon are already married and the story is about them getting to know each other and really building a marriage which sounded incredibly intriguing to me. While I felt the book did give adequate time to the development of their relationship and building their trust with each other, I still felt as though there was too big of a focus on Isabella and spying. This plot was interesting and was integral to the story, but as usual I'm not a big fan of spies and secrets and big misunderstandings. And there was indeed a big misunderstanding as I kept waiting and waiting for Simon to finally give in and tell Lucy what was going on. It got frustrating as I felt that so much could have been solved by doing this and it quickly became apparent that he was going to tell her eventually so it might as well just be now.

I did absolutely love how persistent Lucy was in going after what she wanted by following Simon to London and then trying to seduce. And where normally I would not have been excited by a heroine taking on secret missions, Lucy did it so seemlessly that it ended up working. Simon was great as a somber hero who was struggling to keep his personal life and work life separate even as it became increasingly obvious that it was impossible. And I always like to see the hero have to sort through difficult emotions regarding the heroine and it was done very well here. Lots of brooding and angst about not knowing if she ever really knew the man she married that almost veered into being too much. I really enjoyed a little side romance that was going on between Virginia and Simon's very taciturn friend, Foxworthy, that was far too short and hopefully warranted it's own book.

Rating: A little too much for me in many respects with side plot and angst and spies. Still a solid showing in the relationship department as well.

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