Saturday, March 25, 2017

What I Read in December 2016 Part VII . . .

What I Read in December 2016 Part VII . . .

A Most Extraordinary Pursuit (Emmaline Truelove, #1)A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray--Historical Mystery

The Duke of Olympia has passed away and with him, the old century seems to have died. Miss Emmeline Rose Truelove is uncertain about what the rest of the 20th century will bring now her beloved employer has passed on. Worried about her future, Emmeline is visited by an apparition of the late Queen (Victoria), who advises Emmeline to refuse the request of the Dowager Duchess. Emmeline is quite stubborn, much like the queen, and though she knows not what the request may be, she knows she has to accept. Emmeline is shocked to learn the Dowager Duchess wants her to go after the long lost heir, Maximilian Haywood, in Crete- in the winter. She is to be accompanied by notorious rake, Lord Silverton. The voyage to find Max will bring Emmeline in close proximity with Silverton, a man who makes his intentions very clear. The Queen is not amused and neither is Emmeline. When they arrived in Greece, they discover a mystery much greater and worrisome than they ever expected. Something sinister is afoot, but what is it and why is someone evil after them?

The story is sort of a parallel of the Greek myths of the Minotaur and Theseus. It involves time traveling bandits, mythology come to life and a huge suspension of disbelief. All this colors my opinion of the book. If I had known about the supernatural elements in advance, I probably wouldn't have read this book - maybe... I REALLY can't stand time travel and I'm not a fan of supernatural stories. The intrusion of the villains into the well-ordered Edwardian lives really jarred me out of the story. The language is a real problem. Is there another way to convey modern unsavory characters without resorting to the F- word? It's not fully written out but it's vulgar just the same. As a certain Dowager Duchess said "Vulgarity is no substitute for wit." Another thing that really annoyed me was little wink winks about Titanic and Downton Abbey.

The plot was very engaging once Emmeline and Freddie, Lord Silverton, got to Greece. I had a hard time putting it down but I was able to do it. I wasn't crazy about the romance element but the main character had sizzling chemistry shown, rather than told, through banter and I did like that. The secondary romance was completely bizarre and unexpected. It eventually dawned on me that the story was going to parallel the myth but the plot did not make any sense at all. I am sure Emmeline would never believe it if she hadn't seen it with her own eyes. The villains also left more questions than answers. There are even more questions created by Max's field of study, his uniqueness and the Institute itself. I assume these questions will continue and be revealed gradually.

The romance plots themselves are clean but this book would be rated TV-14 for dialogue, language, sex and violence. Lord Silverton is a rake and women fall at his feet. He has no problems taking a woman to bed and anything he does with them is behind clothes doors except for one brief mention of nudity and a whole lot of discussion that makes Emmeline blush. Then there's the Greek myth which also tells a tale of violence and passion.

I really liked Emmeline. I could relate to her very well. Mostly no-nonsense and practical, Emmeline has had a sheltered life living among Society but is not OF Society. She's aware of her position in life and how she needs to work for a living. She isn't pretentious or social climbing. She's also a hopeless romantic. I can relate to that too. She isn't very worldly but she knows enough to not fall for a man like Silverton. However, Silverton is not quite your typical rake. He reveals his innermost feelings and wishes to Emmeline and no one else, which made me quite like him. I was sort of rooting for him to succeed in wooing her but his actions throughout the story are opposite of his words. Emmeline values what she can see and what she sees is an unrepentant rake.

The secondary characters are numerous and none of them really play a large role in most of the story except for Queen Victoria and Emmeline's father. Her father is kind and loving and wants what's best for his daughter. The main secondary characters are Mr. Higganbothom, a scholar, who has a deep interest in some mysterious photos in Emmeline's possession. He may or may not be what he seems. Then there's Max. Max is introduced very late in the story. He seems like a nice fellow, a bit absent-minded maybe, with a very big heart. I don't really understand what he does or what happens to him because this story is clearly not a stand-alone. The third main secondary character is the mysterious woman. I don't get why every man falls in love with her. I understand the rescue complex. She is not very nice and I found her insufferable.

I may have to keep reading this series so I get answers to the questions but it's not really my favorite kind of read.

Read this if you love Tasha Alexander, Deanna Raybourn and Lauren Willig

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