Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

Whom the Gods Love (Julian Kestral 3) by Kate Ross -- Historical Mystery

Alexander Falkland, darling of Society, has just been brutally murdered in his own home. Alexander's father, Sir Malcolm, asks Julian Kestral to take the case. The dandy sleuth agrees to help solve the mystery. Who could have murdered the handsome, charming, wealthy young man? As Julian delves deep into Alexander's past, he uncovers secrets and lies and a hidden life no one ever expected. The mystery deepens when his widow is involved in an accident. This mystery will take all Julian's considerable skills to solve. This story is much darker and more disturbing than the prior two. The events that led to the murder are terrible and sickening. This book is not for the faint of heart. Even so, I couldn't put the book down! I did figure out several clues that Julian really should have picked up on and I even figured out who the murderer was pretty much right away. It was obvious WHO and even basically why though the motive becomes more clear as more clues are revealed.  One plus in this novel is that we finally learn Julian's back story and who he is though he's still essentially devoid of personality. The details about London life in the 1820s are amazing. If you want to look beyond the balls and Society life then you will love this book. Personally, learning about the underside of life isn't my cup of tea. I missed Sally and the humor she brought to the previous book. Also Dipper was not in this one enough. Even though I couldn't put the book down, the fact that I could solve the mystery so easily leads me to think this book was not as well-written as the previous two. Fans of the series will probably enjoy it anyway. 

The Captain's Courtship (The Everard Legacy 2) by Regina Scott -- Regency Inspirational Romance

Ten years ago Richard Everard offered for Lady Claire and was rejected. He turned to the sea to make his fortune and to become worthy of her. When he learned she married another he never looked back, until now. Now he needs Lady Claire Winthrop to sponsor his cousin Samantha in her upcoming Season. If Lady Claire doesn't agree, Samantha won't fulfill the terms of her father's will and Richard's brother and cousin will lose their inheritance. Though Richard is a bit bitter that Lady Claire rejected him, he still loves her and believes they are meant to be together. Lady Claire Winthrop has spent the last ten years regretting her hasty marriage the the handsome Lord Winthrop. Her marriage was not at all ideal and now she's an impoverished widow. She has learned to follow the Lord's path and stand up for herself but when Captain Richard Everard enters her house, she's uncertain what the Lord has planned for her. She's uncertain of her own judgement though Richard has absolute faith in her. Samantha is unsure of herself. With Claire's guidance she will blossom into a beautiful, confident young lady, but Richard would prefer Samantha stay her own sweet self and not become a copy of the strong-willed, selfish girl Lady Claire once was. Can he trust Lady Claire to do the right thing? Meanwhile, the Everards search for clues to their uncle's mysterious death. As Claire comes to know the lively Samantha, she learns to love the girl. When a dangerous enemy threatens the Everards, Claire learns to stand up and fight for those she loves. This story continues right where The Rogue's Reform left off and ends with the beginning of the Season. The story is a little slow in the first half until the real mystery begins. I was able to figure out who the villain was and I think I'm right about the arch villain but the characters seem unwilling to believe what they've been told. The obviousness of the villain doesn't take away from the romance plot. Even though Claire and Richard already know each other, they have to come to know each other again as adults. They've both changed a lot over the years and getting to know each other all over again isn't easy. As usual, Regina Scott excels at this sort of thing. Her characters are so well-developed and the dialogue is so realistic that admiration turns to trust to friendship and finally romance. Of course the time line is a bit fast but ignore the fact that the story takes place over a few weeks and you have another excellent romance. The last third of the book sets up for the final book in the series; not only the mystery but also about Samantha's heart. Even though I guessed the villain and know there's a third book coming, I kept reading way too late into the night to get some answers to questions lingering from the first novel. I missed Jerome and Adele who were away but Lady Dallsten-Wallcot is there and of course, my favorite, Vaughn. I just love the handsome, fiery poet. I liked Samantha better than Claire. She's fun and feisty and a true Everard. If you're not Christian, you will still enjoy this book. The inspirational bits aren't too heavy handed. They can kind of be skipped over and the story still works. Just ignore the parts where Claire wonders about the Lord's plan for her and thinks about doing His will, etc. etc. I suppose that's the point of the story but it worked for me without it, especially since I had no idea what she was quoting most of the time. This is another great offering from Regina Scott. I can't wait to read the third book and hope she writes more.

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