This is NOT a book from the Top 100 AAR list
Published: February 2014
Genre: Regency Period, Historical Romance
My Rating: 3 stars
This is the second book in the Hellions of High Street series. Each book has a Sloane sister as the main character. The main idea is that Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor. But the Sloane sisters like writing, so they must keep their hobby a secret, because otherwise they will not have a good marriage.
The novel begins with the protagonists already hating each other, so I figured that in the first book they met each other -Anna, and the notorious Devlin Davenport, a man with bad reputation, lack of honor and a little bit of everything to make him qualify as the perfect Regency scoundrel.
Secretly, Anna writes spicy Gothic novels with adventure & romance. Now she’s got to meet a deadline – but London is too distracting, with both social events and continuous bickering with the treacherous Devlin.
So when she’s invited to a small gathering in a Scottish castle, she accepts. Her mother wants her to marry one of the visiting German nobles. But Anna just wants a quiet retirement to finish her novel. But, to her surprise, one of the guests is her nemesis, Devlin Davenport.
But don’t think that he is chasing her! No, as many other Regency noble rakes, Devlin works for the government, and now he has to prevent a conspiracy that’s threatening the German prince’s life. But he is so secretive that arouses suspicions in Anna. And at the same time, she is so interested in guns, that he asks himself whether she could be one of the conspirators.
Between two angsty novels, I decided to read this light Regency, that was given freely to me by the publisher. It was a rest for my spirit. This is the first book I read by Cara Elliott, and I was pleasantly surprised. It reminded me of Loretta Chase or Tessa Dare. The best thing in the novel is its fresh sense of humour. Which is something required by the plot. This is one of those ‘enemies to lovers’ books. They hate each other, so they are always fighting, at the same time that they feel attracted to each other. The tricky part for the writer is to make them pestering each other all the time -but without losing respect or humiliate one another. And the author makes it with flying colours.
One detail I particularly liked about this author’s style is the atmospheric quality of many descriptions. For instance, in Scotland, evocative images give you the sensation of moisture, the grayness of the peatbogs or the dark North Sea.
I was not so happy about other things. The conspiracy plot was not specially surprising or intriguing. Perhaps it's because neither the conspirators nor Devlin himself were very professional. And now and then I found references to hunters-gatherers, which surprised me. At the beginning of the 19th century? Really? In those times -thanks to the biblical research of Archbishop Ussher of Armagh-, common people believed that the world was created in the midnight just before 23rd October 4004 BC.
From a technical POV, I felt that the author didn’t get full advantage of the situation. There could have been more dramatic tension. It looks as if the author didn’t want the reader to suffer. For example, when a person discovers somebody else’s secret, they go inmediately and confronts that person with it. So there are no moments of tension when you ask yourself how that character is going to react, or how the other is going to use that knowledge.
But, generally speaking, it’s an entertaining novel, full of humor and romance.
You can find the Spanish version of this review here.
Puedes encontrar la versión española de esta crítica en El Rincón de la Novela Romántica.