Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.
***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***
Lady Vivien Shaw is abducted from her carriage in the middle of Mayfair and held for two days in a smuggler’s cove. To avoid scandal, spymaster Dominic Hunter sends one of his best men to retrieve her.
Aden St. George, bastard son of the Prince Regent, succeeds in rescuing the woman, but saving her is another matter indeed, since the lady’s obviously hiding something. Aden is certain she knows who’s behind the kidnapping, but refuses to tell.
She’s wrong, of course, the truth is much, much worse.
This was an amazing story. I love spy plots, but spy plots set in Regency or Victorian England are the absolute best, since the men and women had to resort only on their ingenuity, skill, and smarts without any gadgets so popular these days.
Anyway, the reader is immediately (on the very first page!) thrust into the thick of the action as Aden rescues Vivien from the clutches of her captors. Then the story slows down, but not in terms of pacing, but in terms of “let’s cut back on the action and get to know our characters”. It works, and the characters are wonderful, and rather refreshing. Sure, both Aden and Vivien have their moments of idiocy; Aden a lot more than Vivien with his keeping-people-away spiel, while Vivien only goes a little TSTL-ish toward the half-mark of the story with all her schemes and plans of keeping her family financially afloat.
Their romance, there is no better way to describe it—it’s not a relationship, but a downright romance—progresses nicely and gradually, from savior/victim to mutual respect and admiration, reluctant friendship, to budding feelings, and full-on love. They have their ups and downs, mainly because of the period and its restrictions, and, of course, Aden’s reservations (read: fear), but their love story is beautiful to read. Organic and realistic.
The rest of the cast is diverse, intriguing, and entertaining. Aden’s mother a force of nature, Vivien’s not so much, Dominic Hunter an intelligent puppet master, Griffin Steele (whose story comes next) extremely promising and intriguing (can’t wait), the villains very creepy and appropriately disgusting...
The suspense part of the story was nicely drawn and captivating, the action scenes gripping and intense, the story constantly kept the reader guessing what might come next.
The writing was superb, the characterization, as mentioned, spot-on, there wasn’t a slow (in terms of pacing) moment, the suspense engaging, the villains just “villainy” enough without descending into caricature, and the romance (with its high and lows and all its nuances) lovely.
I can’t wait for the next story.