Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Heiress

The Heiress by Lynsay Sands 320

Suzette believes that in order to save her family from ruin, she must marry as soon as possible. Her father has once again gambled his fortune away and while last time her older sister, Christiana, married a horrible man, it is her turn to find someone penniless who will allow her to use some of her dowry to pay off the debt and then leave her in peace. She and her younger sister, Lisa, head to London to find Christiana when their friend tells them that she may be trapped in a loveless marriage, and there are some interesting developments with Christiana's husband. While her husband is dead, his twin brother, who is the real Earl, is still alive and the girls must contend with him and this possible new scandal. Meanwhile the Earl's friend, Daniel Woodrow, is quite taken with Suzette when he first meets her, but when he thinks she is a fortune hunter he is disappointed to have misjudged her and claims to be broke. This works perfectly with what Suzette wants and she immediately proposes to Daniel, startling him and making him wonder if it is possible he does want to give up his bachelorhood and marry her.

Daniel, Richard, and the sisters must work hard to find out who had killed Christiana's husband and if they are now making attempts on Richard and Christiana's lives. Meanwhile Daniel and Suzette find themselves alone quite a lot and take advantage of every opportunity to make out and engage in other activities, but he holds back from taking her virginity. He worries that once he tells her that he is not really in desperate need for her money she will refuse to marry him so he swears everyone to secrecy about his financial situation. Unfortunately even after the murder is solved it does not explain away the murder attempts and which of Dickie's friends had been planning to marry Suzette. Daniel decides to take Suzette to Gretna Green before she finds out about his riches and her entire family accompany them.  He has realized that he desperately needs Suzette in his life and does not want to risk losing her and her marriage of convenience has quickly turned into a love match for her as well. However, there is still someone out there who wants Suzette for himself and he will use whatever means at his disposal to keep them apart. Suzette must take a leap of faith and Daniel must take a chance on Suzette in order for them to find their happily ever after.

I loved Suzette as a heroine because she was funny, confident, and her decision to sacrifice herself for her family was noble and oddly enough made sense for the circumstance she was presented with. I liked her relationship with her father and her sisters and I liked that she went for what she wanted when she met with Daniel. Daniel was also great, partly because I loved the way he and Suzette interacted with each other. He hadn't been born into wealth, but had had to earn it, and he had a normal relationship with his mother which I found refreshing in a romance novel. Suzette and Daniel worked so perfectly together- from helping to solve Dickie's murder, to finding their own way out of scrapes, to the more steamy aspect of their relationship. Although things are taken "slowly" for the majority of the book there is still a lot of steam going on and I am liking the new trend of having romance novel heroines be comfortable with their sexuality even if they are virginal and sheltered. There was a moment where I was a little upset with the lack of faith Suzette had in Daniel, but when I thought more about it I realized that it actually really made sense because of the relationship they had. I was really rooting for them to have their happily ever after and they were really great together.

The plot involving Dickie's murder was really well written and developed nicely in this book as we got to look at it from another side. The new plot involving this other man who wants to marry Suzette was really great because it was very subtle and unexpected and served as a great catalyst for their relationship. I also liked how, while Christiana and Richard were featured, the book did not focus on their relationship. There are a lot of complaints that this book is just a repeat of The Countess, the previous book in the series that features Suzette's sister, Christiana, and her husband, Richard Fairgrave. I will not lie; this book covers an immense amount of the same territory and about 2/3 of the book overlaps in the timeline. However, I disagree with the critics because I felt like it was different enough to warrant a separate book and that events from the previous books were not completely re-done. I do not believe that a reader could appreciate this book without having read the previous book because it does not really go into detail about what happened and really focuses only on what Suzette and Daniel are going through. I also liked that it solved a couple of the loose ends that were left at the end of The Countess and set up the last sister's book very nicely.

Rating: Another fun book by Sands, but it was not quite as good as The Countess. I liked the characters, the plot, and the pace.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Scandal's Daughter

Scandal's Daughter by Christine Wells 323

Gemma lives an idyllic life at her grandfather's estate Ware, where she feels like she is the natural successor as she has put in years of hard work in dedication seeing the estate run successfully. She lives in semi-self-imposed exile as her mother's scandalous behavior years before has lead to her being a topic of scandal and there is no denying that Gemma has an "aura" about her that attracts men to her. Her father does not believe that she should inherit Ware and tasks his godson with marrying her before his own death, which is expected soon. Sebastian Laidley is a rake of the first order and has spent his life trying to forget his father's legacy and the havoc that in wreaked in his life and the life's of his mother and older, and deceased, brother. He has no intention of marrying Gemma, even though after meeting her he is struck by her beauty, and strikes a bargain with her grandfather to find her a husband within three months or marry her himself. The first step in this is to escort Gemma to his family estate under the guise of helping plan his sister's wedding and showing her grandfather needs her for Ware to run smoothly.

Before they leave Gemma's mother shows up with her very young beau, Charles Bellamy, and Gemma is once again the lost girl whose mother abandoned her. She does go to Laidley with Sebastian, where their friendship quickly blossoms into something more. His mother is still learning how to be her own person after years of marriage to a controlling husband and his sister, Fanny, is madly in love her fiance, but because of his own reputation as a rake she is continually fighting with him and calling off the wedding. Meanwhile Gemma takes charge of the estate; discovering the housekeeper is pilfering money and getting the house running smoothly and looking beautiful. She helps Sebastian see things from his sister and his mother's points of view and helps him cope with the reality of his brother's suicide and the fact that Sebastian needs to step up and be lord of his estate. But Sebastian is worried that Gemma will not be able to see past her lifetime obsession with running Ware and fears proclaiming his feelings for her. It will take a family tragedy for Gemma to realize that loving Sebastian will involve some risks and giving up her old dreams, but it will be worth it to have love in her life everyday.

Gemma was rather boring really even though I know I was supposed to find her interesting for running her grandfather's estate and being independent. Her desire to run Ware was well founded and I did not like how everyone just accepted that her grandfather would not leave it to her. However, I just could not really bring myself to be interested in what was going on with her and ware, probably because her experience at ware took place before the book started and we didn't get to see it. She was so scared to venture out into society because of a scandal her mother had created, but I could not figure out what this scandal was. It was hinted at and it certainly caused quite a hubbub throughout the book, but all I could figure out was that she had married someone unsuitable which hardly seemed to warrant the horror everyone regarded it with. Her take charge attitude at Laidley was impressive but happened on the down time of the book. Sebastian was more interesting because of the demons that haunted his past and I liked that Gemma was the one who helped him sort through his feelings and got him back on the right track. Sebastian and Gemma had a very well developed relationship with lots of quality time and real conversation between them. There was almost no sex between them and it was rushed and shoved to the back of the book, so it was not really that interesting.

I did like all the other relationships that happened throughout the book, especially the one between Sebastian and his family. They were incredibly sweet and moving and Wells did a really great job of developing them and using them to bring Sebastian and Gemma closer together. Towards the end I really lost a lot of respect for this book as Gemma's feelings were made to seem childish and shrewish and unreasonable, when in fact I thought she should have been more angry. Although her grandfather made it clear that she would never inherit Ware, I completely understood why she thought she could change his mind, and thought she was completely entitled to be disappointed when he left it to someone else. Instead she ends up apologizing for her behavior, which was really not that bad and should have been worse, to the man who showed up in the 9th hour and supplanted her position. She apologizes to her mother for making some rude innuendo about her behavior, when her mother was the one who abandoned her and left her alone, only to bring this other man into her life at the last minute. This was a big issue for me and I became very frustrated when I was reading this and it really knocked this book down quite a bit in my esteem.

Rating: The romance was good enough and there were some interesting little side bits, but I just did not "get" Gemma's obsession with Ware or appreciate how her feelings about Ware were belittled.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To Desire a Wicked Duke

To Desire a Wicked Duke by Nicole Jordan 317

Two years after her fiance, Richard, is killed in battle Tess Blanchard feels well enough to emerge back into society. She has dedicated her life to various charitable causes and one of those involves a theatre master with a penchant for ghosts who also happens to be quite the ladies man. Tess takes a chance on a kiss with him but she is discovered by her nemesis, Ian Sutherland, Duke of Rotham. Ian had fancied Tess at her come-out ball, but had gracefully stepped aside when Richard, his cousin, had staked his claim. Upon Richard's death he felt responsible for Tess and has quietly looked after her from afar for all these years, but witnessing her kiss changes everything and awakens the feelings he had suppressed long ago. Richard and Tess are passionately attracted to each other and are very quickly discovered in their own scandalous position and her godmother insists that they marry. Ian agrees to let things move at Tess's pace, but she is still not happy about having to marry a well known rake and scoundrel as she had always hoped to marry for love. This is made worse when she goes to his estate to discover a young child who bears a striking resemblance to Ian which sends Tess fleeing to his estate in Cornwall with her courtesan friend Fanny.

The estate is supposed to be haunted and it is not long before she is hearing stories about rattling chains and moans coming from within the walls. Meanwhile Ian has followed Tess and Fanny up to Cornwall, accompanied by his newest secretary, Fanny's beau, whom he hired at Tess's behest in the hopes that Basel will finally propose to Fanny. One night Tess senses a presence in her room and goes to Ian for comfort and that marks a turning point in their relationship as they come to rely on each other and help each other try to solve the ghost mystery. Tess has always maintained their distance by constantly needling each other and she continues to believe that the only way to keep herself from becoming to emotionally involved and falling in love. An ex-soldier proves to be their mystery ghost and tells them about a vast conspiracy of thieves and smugglers and it is up to Ian and Tess to stop them. But even when that is solved, it does not mean that everything between Ian and Tess are cleared up and she goes searching for the truth about Ian's character and about his young ward. Ian knows that he loves Tess, but wants her to discover on her own that he is worthy and that he is someone she could love and live happily ever after with.

Tess was a slight deviation from a typical romance novel character because I really got the sense that her charitable works are genuine and not merely an attempt to feel better about her own immense wealth. She really was a giver and a caring person, which made her blind spot and loathing of Ian all the more confusing and frustrating. I like the idea that Ian has secretly wanted Tess for so long but did the noble thing by stepping aside for his cousin. Despite his reputation as a rake, Ian has actually been quite noble throughout his acquaintance with Tess, with various donations to her causes and by keeping an eye on her, and generally not really living up to his rogue-ish reputation. I could not figure out why all of his good deeds had to be kept a secret from Tess and served as a really unnecessary block in their relationship that I didn't like.  I did like the angst that arose for Ian when he feared that Tess was still in love with his cousin because it seemed like something reasonable for a man in his position to fear and because it showed some vulnerability in this otherwise strong man. There was some decent sex here, pretty hot, but I know that Jordan has done better, and after the strong sexy start I was really expecting more from this book.

A little more than halfway through this book devolved into the romance novel staple of having both protagonists waiting for the other to admit to love first. Saying those three words became a sign of weakness and vulnerability and both feared admitting to the feeling. This is so common that it took  me awhile to realize how obnoxious it is and it comes across as just a way for the author to extend the book when every other problem has been solved. am having difficulty deciding if I liked having the mystery solved about halfway through the book; on the one hand it made the book kind of anti-climatic and did rather drag on, but on the other hand it left a significant portion of the book for Tess and Ian to focus completely on their relationship and on falling in love. The mystery was very fun and was a great opportunity for Jordan to show how well the characters fit together, even if it did lead to some sassy heroics on Tess's part that rather irritated me. It wasn't a big page turner, but it did not blow up into something crazy and involve kidnappings and murder plots, but was a nice addition to a romance novel. For the majority of the novel, Jordan managed to avoid bringing in all the happily ever afters from previous books, but by the end it was a big giant reunion and I was a tad annoyed.

Rating: An enjoyable and fun romance with a nice little mystery to accompany it, but there were some very frustrating aspects of the book and it was really nothing special.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seducing the Duchess

Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March 311

Charlotte, Duchess of Rutherford, fancied herself in love with her husband until their wedding night when he revealed that he had only married her for revenge. Her brother Ethan had run off with the Duke's fiance three days before the wedding and Philip, the Duke, saw Charlotte as the best way to get back at him. Philip's revenge was hollow  as Ethan was disowned by the family and moved to Europe before he could see the farce play out. For three years Charlotte and Philip live together, but lead separate lives as she nurtures her hatred for the man who betrayed her. She is determined to get a divorce so she flaunts her many lovers around town and behaves scandalously by gambling and drinking. As time goes by Philip starts to feel guilty over the way he treated Charlotte, and notices that he misses her; misses being her friend, misses her company and her laughter. He finds himself going out of his way to be with her and he realizes that he made a terrible mistake and is in fact desperately in love with her. Determined to win her back and make a splash he forcibly removes her from her many admirers and ensconces her in his country estate.

Philip makes a deal with Charlotte in the hopes of gaining more time with her; he says he will petition for a divorce, and he writes a letter to his solicitor right away, if she will teach him to be a better husband for his next wife. Charlotte is excited at the prospect of finally being free of the man who betrayed her, but she admits to being uncomfortable preparing him to marry another woman. As she gives him mini lessons on how to please a wife, she makes it clear that he has failed miserably in this regard and he sets out to gain her favor. He is kind, he buys her thoughtful presents, and he tries the best that he knows how to let go of his lordly pretensions and be comfortable around her. But Charlotte cannot forget what Philip did to her, even as she finds herself beginning to fall under his spell again. Philip fears being vulnerable and is scared to admit his feelings for Charlotte, even while recognizing that it may be the only way he can win her back. Things begin to look good for the two of them when another possible betrayal rears it's head and Charlotte is back to not trusting Philip or her own judgment. Philip fears he has lost her forever and must lay his pride and his hopes on the line in one giant last ditch attempt to prove that he is honest and that they can love each other happily.

I loved that Charlotte was independent and not scared of being a sexual being in public, but I was not too crazy about her doing it just for revenge against Philip. She was self assured and confident in her place in society, but not all that exciting in general. While what Philip did was quite awful and I understand that she was upset and found it hard to trust him again, I felt like it dragged on far too long. I felt like he made it clear that he had changed and had difficulty remaining invested in the story once it was clear that there really was nothing standing in their way and she were just creating roadblocks. I did like that Philip's declaration of love did not magically solve everything as it does in so many romance novels where those three words from the hero signal the end of all conflict and the resolution of the book. I liked Philip as the brooding and tortured hero who had difficulty coming to terms with his deep emotions toward the woman he never expected to love. I loved his attempts to truly earn Charlotte's love as they were so sweet and simple and showed that he really cared about her. Some of his attempts were immature and backfired horribly, like when he tried to make her jealous, but it just showed how desperate he was and he was wiling to try anything.

 The relationship was definitely the central plot of this story and the majority of the story was dedicated to them falling in love with each other. Because the past played such a large part in their relationship I was hoping that there would be some more flashbacks to key moments, but the flashbacks were sadly brief and far between. Despite Charlotte being quite the seductress and Philip being a very virile, there was very little sex in the book, it was brief and not that sexy, and it was not until the very end. My biggest confusion in this book came near the end when Philip suddenly became convinced that it was his status in society and his dedication to behaving in ways fitting to his station that had driven Charlotte off. Suddenly he was trying to act more like a commoner, he was burning pictures of his stately grandfather who instilled the sense of betterment in him, and thinking about giving up his title. This was odd as this had nothing to do with why he betrayed Charlotte or why she was mad at him and it did not make sense to me why this was suddenly an issue. There was a nice little side story regarding some brief attempts to reconcile Charlotte with her estranged family that could have been really interesting, but it was far too short unfortunately.

Rating: There were definite moments in this book and Philip was quite great, but I did not like Charlotte and the problems between them went on for far longer than warranted.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Never Trust a Rogue

Never Trust a Rogue by Olivia Drake 308

Lindsey Crompton is the season's richest heiress and her mother is determined to see her middle daughter married off to a wealthy member of the ton after her eldest daughter made a disappointing match. But Lindsey has no intention of marrying a duke, or anyone for that matter, as she wants to open up a detective agency and help people investigate crimes and other problems. Thane Parker, the Earl of Mansfield, was orphaned and raised by his coldly judgmental uncle, who was never pleased by anything Thane did. Eschewing his responsibilities to his title he joined the army and made a name for himself as a war hero and when he returns to London he is toasted by all... except Lindsey. Lindsey does not buy into the hype surrounding Lord Thane, especially when she sees him sneaking around with a serving maid. When a serial killer begins targeting servant girls and leaving their bodies in Hyde Park, and then she finds out that one of the maids in his house has gone missing, Lindsey can't help but wonder if Thane is the killer. However, her fears about his past times don't prevent her from being attracted to the handsome earl.

What she does not know is that Thane is helping Bow Street investigate the murders and that all of his suspicious behavior is easily explained away. His chief suspect in the case, Lord Wrayford, is courting Lindsey, with her mother's whole hearted approval, and this worries Thane. Lindsey is outspoken and makes no pretense towards liking Thane, but he is drawn to her and can't stand the idea of something happening to her if Wrayford is indeed the murderer. He blackmails her into agreeing to an engagement with him in one months time; she is not happy at all as she suspects he is the murderer, but he believes it's the only way to keep her safe from Wrayford. She quickly realizes that the rumors of Thane's dissolute behavior have been much exaggerated and the more time she spends with him, the more she thinks that there is no way he could possibly be the murderer. But time is running out as more servants go missing and as Lindsey's mother becomes more determined than ever to make her daughter a duchess. Thane and Lindsey must discover who the real murderer and circumvent her mother's machination in order to be together.

I liked Lindsey however I couldn't help but view her desire to open up a detective agency to be rather childish and way inappropriate. A woman running a business in those days was almost unheard of and a detective agency would have been nearly impossible. Anyone who didn't know this had some major growing up to do, and Lindsey was not even a very good detective to begin with and it struck me as a little girl who wants to be a ballerina when she grows up; very immature. However, I was still disappointed at the speed with which she gave up this grand dream and did not really fight at all once she realized she was in love with Thane. Her investigative attempts came across as amateurish at best and rather ridiculous at worst. Thane was a more interesting character because he had a really past and life experience that made him more realistic in his expectations. His involvement in the murder was also hard to believe as I can't imagine an earl would have ever volunteered for such a task. The two spent plenty of time together, enough to make their relationship believable and for me to really get a sense that they worked well as a couple and that they really were in love.

There was very little steam in the book and some brief sex near the end of the book that was just rather bland. The strangling murder was a little overdrawn and rather superficial even though it took up quite a lot of the space I did not feel like it was overwhelming the love story. Lindsey and Thane had some great time together that dealt with the crime, but it was not the only thing they had in common. I am not going to give anything away, but I will say that I enjoyed never being really sure who the murderer was and being surprised by the resolution. I loved the relationship these two had with their family members. Lindsey's mother was the hatable matchmaking mamma who would stop at nothing to ensure a member of the ton for her daughter. For some reason I always like these type of women as they really add some tension to a book, while at the same time being likable because they're just doing what they think is best for their daughter. Thane also had an interesting relationship with his family members and I liked to read about his feelings about them evolved and Olivia's influence over these changes. The writing was incredibly fast and easy and I got through the book really quickly.

Rating: A decent book that was fun and easy and had a nice little mystery, but really nothing special in any sense.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Scandal by Carolyn Jewel 306

The Earl of Banallt is easily the most notorious rake in the ton when he makes friends with Tommy Evans and meets Tommy's wife. Sophie Evans is not his usual type, but immediately Banallt knows that she is something special and his life changes in an instant. He wants Sophie desperately and though she refuses him, he cannot get her out of his head. Sophie Mercer Evans fancied herself in love with Tommy when they eloped years ago, only to discover that he was only after her money. She knows Banallt is the same type of man as Tommy, but that does not stop her from becoming his friend. She feels safe enough with him to reveal that she is a published author of adventure romances and he reveals that he loves his wife, but does not remain faithful to her, and that he his daughter is the light of his life. But both of them are married and nothing can come of their attraction. Tragedy strikes both of them and in one moment of hurt and despair their friendship is shattered, but neither forgets the other. Banallt changes his ways and Sophie moves in with her brother and makes a life for herself, determined to keep her independence and never fall prey to a man's machinations again.

When the two meet again Banallt is more determined then ever to make Sophie his; he needs her in his life, he loves her, and he will do anything to make her fall in love with him again. Her brother is protective of her and warns Banallt away, but nothing will stand in his way this time. He slowly sets about becoming Sophie's friend again by talking with her about her writing, helping her navigate her way in a society she never experienced before she married as a young girl. Through it all Sophie can find herself falling under Banallt's spell, but she is terrified of making another mistake and refuses to believe that Banallt could ever have changed. But despite her beliefs about Banallt, Sophie wants to experience passion, wants to finally feel like she is desired, so she agrees to an affair with Banallt that is everything either of them dreamed, but so much less than what they want. When tragedy once again enters their life, it has the potential to drive them apart for good, but instead Banallt steps in to save the day with an offer of marriage. Sophie has no choice but to accept, but it will take a huge leap of faith and trust for her to finally acknowledge that Banallt has changed and that he loves her as much as she loves him.

This book has received very mixed reviews as it is quite different from most romance novels. For the most part it is chronological, but it does jump around quite a bit from when they first met, to when they were renewing their friendship, to when their friendship was originally blossoming, but it was fairly easy to keep straight. Banallt is a typical rake when the story starts out and is really quite unforgivable; he cheats on his wife, he tries to seduce his friends' wife, and he cavorts around town. He was never completely black hearted as he was a loving father so we knew it possible for the love of the right woman to save him. He falls hard for Sophie, unbelievably hard for someone who has never appreciated a woman and it is a tad unbelievable that he is so hung up on her. However unbelievable, he definitely does change and his love for Sophie is impossible to deny. Sohpie's fear of committing herself to a man with Banallt's reputation is completely understandable, but I never felt like it was overblown. I just could not understand why she had married her first husband to begin with and felt like this really should have been explained more in the book as it played such a large part in who she would become.

The romance does move rather slowly, but that is in keeping with who these two are and makes sense on the whole because Sophie just cannot bring herself to completely trust Banallt. The main focus of this book is the romance, but there is still a lot going on, especially with Sophie and her inability to truly appreciate Banallt's change. The relationship between them was quite all encompassing and progressed very slowly and methodically throughout the book. I like that we got the back story about what happened and how their friendship progressed because it made it believable that they were in love, and I liked that they were friends first. Really it was just clear that they were each what the other needed; Sohpie needed someone to be there for her who truly appreciated him, and Banallt needed someone who would expect more out of him than what he had been before. Sophie's brother is in love with Banallt's ward, Fidelia, and that is an interesting little side story. There is a lot of tragedy in this book and I will simultaneously give Jewel props for being brave enough to write something so out of the norm for a romance novel I was also rather horrified by it.

Rating: A very character and romance driven novel that was all about the relationship, which I enjoyed, but it did move slow and was somewhat of a downer. 3 1/2 hearts.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Kissed an Earl

I Kissed an Earl by Julie Anne Long 302

Violet Redmond is pampered and pretty, the apple of the ton for her looks and her fortune, and of course for her talent for courting scandal. She is bored by the life of the ton and longs for adventure, but first she desires to find her elder brother, Lyon, who disappeared without a word when his love broke his heart. Flint, the newly minted Earl of Ardmay, was born on the wrong side of the blanket and lived a harsh life in an orphanage with no one to look out for him, but himself. He learned quickly how to get what he wanted out of life, and his work at capturing pirates on the high seas earned him the notice of the king. He has been trying to capture, Le Chat, a pirate who has been sinking ships and has proven incredibly elusive. Violet meets Flint at a ball, and while he is not her usual type, she is drawn to the confident, handsome, and charming young captain. Unfortunately the more she hears about Le Chat, the more she comes to believe that her brother Lyon is the infamous pirate captain and she is determined to see that he does not end up swinging from a noose.

She stows away on Flint's ship in the hope of finding Lyon and preventing any negative consequences for his actions. Flint does not like the newest addition to his crew and he soon finds out that Violet is no wilting flower; she has a backbone and is more than capable of standing up to him. So the ship journeys through the seas, always one step behind Le Chat and as the sail Flint and Violet begin to get closer. She admires his sense of responsibility and his sense of purpose, but she still knows she could not stand to let him capture her brother. Flint knows that capturing Lyon will hurt the woman he admires so much, but Le Chat sunk the ship of Flint's childhood hero and he has sworn vengeance. Their journey will take them to various escapes around Europe and the encounter people from their pasts, such as an old lover of Flint's, and Violet proves that she can definitely hold her own in a cat fight. But perhaps things are not quite as they appear and finding Lyon will open both of their eyes to truths that neither was willing to admit. Flint has to discover that love is worth giving up on old hatreds, while Violet must realize that she cannot save everyone and must sometimes focus on finding her own happiness. It takes a lot f these two to come together, but love does triumph in the end.

This book took a very long time for me to get through as I started it, read about a hundred pages, and put it down for a month before finally finishing it up. There were just too many other books in my to be read pile that promised to be more interesting and fun, and finishing this up was almost like a chore I had to force myself to complete. The most startling aspect of the book, and the one that prompted me to put it down for so long, was how absolutely cold the characters are. There was no heated arguments, no fun and happiness, just an aura of cold calculation that permeated everything that happened in the book. It is difficult to describe, but I just felt like nothing was spontaneous, nothing was enjoyable for them, everything just plodded along with no exciting emotion. The book was incredibly wordy; there were pages where absolutely nothing happened, and each of these characters would ruminate for seeming hours about everything from the color of a dress to how to stop the slave trade. Unfortunately far too little of this book was told from Flint's point of view and I think it would have helped to have more because I quickly became tired of Violet and her seemingly endless thoughts and feelings about nothing important.

Violet as a person was fairly bland and I never really got a feel for her. Flint liked her because of her immense capacity for love and her loyalty and her ability to hold her own against him and when confronted with others. However, I did not find any of these qualities special or well written enough for me to like Violet for them as well. Flint was slightly better, perhaps because I wasn't in his mind as much and thus was not able to build up a dislike of him so easily. He was very responsible, and fairly kind, but I did not like his single minded pursuit of Lyon, even after he learned some very difficult truths about his mission. There were a lot of heated glances, that really did not simmer to hot but were intriguing nonetheless, but no actual sex until practically the end and by then it was so overdue I just wanted to skip over it. Everything was very muted throughout the book, including the sex, which I just didn't find enjoyable at all. I felt like the relationship between Flint and Violet got a really short shrift her as too much time was spent on ruminating then on these two having genuine interactions. Despite how awkward this book was I still was incredibly interested in reading more about Lyon and what he is up to, but unfortunately it does not seem like that book is coming out any time soon.

Rating: The book was bad, I cannot lie, and very boring with far too much text, but it was not as bad as some I have read.