This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Berkley
Released on September 2, 2014
Just a few pages in and I was already enthralled by hero, Harry Raybourn and laughing at his escapades in love and his humorous way of trying to figure out the female race. In response to his oh so careful courtship of a wisp of a girl that was all wrong for him, he is luckily shot down for being too ordinary. Ordinary is exactly what Harry was going for- especially after what happened in Calais.
Harry isn’t dashing, he doesn’t have blue aristocratic blood running through his veins, but he does have a zest for a spirited woman and the romp they have together. After a night of mourning the loss of his delicate beauty, Agnes Featherhead er, that is Featherington, he steps out of his club and right into an adventure. His attempt to save a damsel that he thought was in distress only earns him an accidental abduction by a Boudicca and her chariot.
Did he actually hear pride in her voice?
I’m being abducted, Harry thought as he pushed himself back into a sitting position. By a madwoman. Except she wasn’t a madwoman. She was handling like she’d been born on the box. She’d been in control that whole time as they threaded the streets of London, and Westminster and taken those daring, near deadly turns. Dear God, what kind of woman was she?
At this, absurdly, Harry laughed…But it occurred to him that he had been wishing he could get out of town. Now he was doing exactly that and at top speed. Admittedly, he hadn’t considered abduction as a means of gaining distance from Agnes, but here he was and it didn’t seem there was anything he could do about it.
pp. 22-23, Harry, The Accidental Abduction
Leannah Wakefield is doing all she can for her family. Her father’s weakness and need to speculate away all their money and anyone else’s has left them near destitute and pariahs in society. Leannah is now a year widowed after a five year marriage and she has tried to cobble the family finances together long enough for her sister to make a good match and her brother to come of age, but they won’t last a few more weeks let alone years before Jeremy comes of age. There is nothing for, but that she accept the hand of a man that gives her the shivers. On that thought, she discovers that Genevieve didn’t give up on the attachment to Mr. Dickenson, but has run off. Leannah races out to rescue her sister and will put her carriage horses through the paces to do it. Somehow, along the way, she has acquired an unwelcome passenger. Is he a drunk or just crazy?
Harry soon learns that Leannah is out to stop her sister from a disastrous runaway marriage. Leannah’s spirited driving, determination and beauty work powerfully on him. He can see that his aid during her time of need and something about him has attracted her to him too. Not long after a successful if unorthodox completion of the adventure, it is Harry and Leannah that say their vows in a roadside inn.
The passionate moments of coming together are the easy part now they must face their families, Leannah’s Morehouse family reputation and Society. Oh, and some behind the scenes scheming. If they cannot rely on and trust in each other and what they have together, all the things against them will break them apart before they have the chance to express any growing, honest feelings for each other.
As one can see by the description, this one was off to the races from the beginning in some ways. They came together quickly and passionately, but then the rest of the book was spent delving into their pasts, their characters and their romance’s development. Harry and Leannah take the starring roles of course and this is there story, but there is a huge cast of characters flitting through this one and tantalizing mysterious references to a dark moment for Harry and a seedy past for Leannah’s family. Slowly this is all teased out. There are also side jaunts for the villains to make their moves.
I only had one niggle and it is probably a personal preference more than anything. I was not half pleased with all the page time devoted to both of them fantasizing. In general, I don’t mind reading about a character fantasizing about what they will do or say with the other character, but I get bored when it carries on- and on. For the most part, this stuff ended about the time they got married so it’s not a huge portion of the book, but it dragged down the pace near the beginning in my opinion.
This book is also loosely connected to another book, Lord of the Rakes, by the author though I found no evidence that they are considered a series. Because of the connection, I would suggest that they be treated like a series anyway. Lord of the Rakes features a romance between two friends of Harry’s and his sister Fiona. Also, Harry, Fi and there family group with acquaintances were introduced in the other book.
A word about the romance and the characters- it’s very spicy and these passionate people are honest in their need and unapologetic about the raw need. Things began fast, but in this case the author was able to carry the ‘love (or lust) at first sight’ plotting and it worked because of what came afterward. They aren’t sweet or refined. Leannah and Harry are mannered people, but neither come from highborn backgrounds. Refreshingly, Harry’s family is wealthy from trade and he still works. Leannah’s family is untitled country gentry though her father’s speculative habits have lost them even that. They have a tough uphill battle to prove they belong together and prove that Leannah isn’t her father. I enjoyed the together against the world feel they had though it was sad to see when doubt reared its ugly head. It was realistic for it to do so and added that needed challenge to keep things from going stale.
In the end, I was pleased with the result of this story. I enjoy the author’s writing. She uses humor, lusty bedroom scenes, gritty intrigue and colorful characters to tell a good story. If Ms. Wilde is listening, I would love Nathaniel Penrose and Meredith Langley to get a story too. I would recommend this to those that enjoy moderate spice and intrigue in their Historical Romances.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review.