Pub Date: March 2006
Publisher: Berkley Sensation (Penguin)
Length: 280 pages
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: No idea, although my copy is used. Likely from a library book sale.
I'm not sure why I've never glommed Loretta Chase's books, but it just never happened. So, consequently, there's still a lot of backlist to explore. Digging (literally) through my piles of books in search of something to read, I discovered this slender novel. The spine was partially ripped, the pages yellowed. I had, somehow, never read it. I didn't even realize I owned it.
I'm on the 'love' side of the Lord of Scoundrels debate. I adore that book. Others I've read by Chase were more forgettable. This kind of falls in the middle: cute, well done, but not amazing.
Chase's dialogue sparkles as always, and the characters are well done, but the relationship felt a little too easy. The suspense was almost entirely about the children, and the "impediments" between Bathsheba and Benedict were of the most superficial sort. (Also, Bathsheba is one of the worst names, ever. Sorry. I know it's period appropriate and Anglicized Hebrew, but ugh.)
The best part of this book is the kids. Really. Normally, children in romances are nothing short of annoying, but Chase manages to make them act like children AND be compelling secondary characters with their own story line. There's, apparently, a book with them as adults that I've yet to read...which I'm kind of excited to discover. (So much for not buying more books. Knew that wouldn't last).
In fact, the relationships between Olivia and Bathsheba (and Benedict and Peregrine) are in many ways far more carefully drawn and deeply felt than the one between our hero and heroine. I particularly enjoyed how Bathsheba kept trying to tell everyone how thoroughly awful her daughter was. That she was by no means blind to her faults (manipulation and a fine gift for falsehoods).
The only other thing that truly bugged me was how tangled the extended families were and how they seemed to just pop into the story at the end. I had trouble keeping straight who was who, and consequently didn't really care about anything they said or did. I would have liked to have more of their characters throughout the story to sufficiently explain the problems that arose.
Overall, it's a cute story with scene stealing secondary characters. I'm likely to quickly forget Bathsheba (awful name) and Benedict, but I suspect I will be remembering the delightful Olivia for far longer.
My Grade: B
The heir to the Earl of Hargate, Benedict Carsington, Viscount Rathbourne, is the perfect aristocrat. Tall, dark, and handsome, he is known for his impeccable manners and good breeding. Benedict knows all the rules and has no trouble following them—until she enters his life.
Bathsheba Wingate belongs to the rotten branch of the DeLucey family: a notorious lot of liars, frauds, and swindlers. Small wonder her husband’s high-born family disowned him. Now widowed, she’s determined to give her daughter a stable life and a proper upbringing. Nothing and no one will disrupt Bathsheba’s plans—until he enters her life…
Then Bathsheba’s hoyden daughter lures Benedict’s precocious nephew into a quest for a legendary treasure. To recover the would-be knights errant, Benedict and Bathsheba must embark on a rescue mission that puts them in dangerous, intimate proximity. It’s a situation virtually guaranteed to end in mayhem—even scandal!—if anyone else were involved. But Benedict is in perfect control of events. Perfect control, despite his mad desire to break all the rules. Perfect control. Really.