Saturday, April 2, 2011
Wounded in a foiled robbery attempt, Scottish bandit Sebastian Kerr must rely on the assistance of Prudence Walker, an innocent orphan.
This was a convoluted Georgian romance centered around a notorious highwayman known as the Dreadful Scot Bandit Kirkpatrick, who's real name is Sebastian Kerr. With a long, drawn out plot line that was broken up into two parts, it had me confused and wondering through most of it. I don't even know how I can write a coherent review of this book because it had so many story lines and details to it.
What did the fearful highwayman Sebastian really want? Was it the nearsighted and innocent young lass who rescued him from a bullet wound one rainy night? Or is it the money and respectability of marrying her attractive - albeit self centered - aristocratic Aunt Tricia? Despite the confusing plot line, parts of the story were funny and Medeiros has a flair for the sense of humor, particularly Aunt Tricia (and her wig!) Her characterizations of the side characters were well done and, ironically, I appreciated them more than the leads. But overall, the whole thing was all over the place and hard to follow despite it's amusing bits.
The first half of the book follows Sebastian and Prudence and how they deal with the fact they are crazy about one another but he needs to marry her aunt for her money so he can regain his castle in Scotland. Sebastian is living two lives, one as the secret highwayman, the other as a Scottish nobleman. Prudence knows his secret and her life is in peril because of it. Sebastian's grandfather, a Frenchman who wants to overthrow the English monarchy, wants Sebastian to kill Prudence. His grandfather has his own grand designs and Prudence's knowledge can ruin his plans.
Prudence seems to be two different people as well. The real Prudence is a prudish and sensible wallflower living with her aunt who nobody notices. Nothing like the wild and vivacious young thing Sebastian met that night in the rain - and in his bed. Prudence hates Sebastian for leading her on when he intended to marry her aunt for her money. He asks Prudence to be his mistress, of all things, once he's married to her aunt. Grossly insulted she refuses his offer. Then, there's this sticky matter of whether he's going to kill her or not. There are lots of other details and people I'm leaving out, believe me.
Part Two begins a few months later. Prudence has managed to stop the marriage to her aunt by having Sebastian "captured" and sent off to Scotland. She has saved Sebastian from the noose for highway robbery. Despite everything, she still loves him. Crazy, I know. There were so many complications in this romance, I was baffled through much of the second half of the book. While in Scotland, Sebastian falls to his lowest point and becomes the leader of a gang of thieves. As fate would have it, Prudence is now a duchess (!) and has lots of money! She deliberately tries to find Sebastian so she can tell him that she still loves him and help him. But, at the same time, she's also engaged to his archenemy - the MacKay - the man who owns the title and castle that Sebastian feels he has rights to. Sebastian forces her to marry him instead and then she hates him again - did he marry her for her money or because he really loves her? Back and forth, back and forth - I got so sick of these two! Grr!
Although a lot of this book was entertaining, I had so many issues with the crazy storyline and loose ends! Did I happen to mention that Prudence is an expert when it comes to gunpowder? Whatever happened to the notion that Sebastian had to kill her? Whatever happened to his French grandfather in the House of Commons - and how can a Frenchman become a member of the House in England anyway? How come no one realized who MacKay obviously was until the end? I guessed it from the time we first meet him.
Parts dragged and other parts were amusing. It's hard to say whether I liked the first part or second better. What parts did I really like?
Tricia - she was very funny with her many past husbands - and her wig.
Devoney, Prudence's neighbor - I laughed at her silliness and how she loved being ravished by highwaymen!
The butlers - both were funny in their own way, very cheeky.
Jamie, Sebastian's sidekick - what a laugh, won me over by the end, though I didn't like him at first, he turned out to be an angel in disguise for Prudence. Dressed up as Cupid - what a riot!
The long and short of it is, this book was all over the place. The romance was uneven and I wasn't overly crazy about either the hero or heroine. Yet, it's saving grace was the light hearted surprises and humor. The minor characters kept me reading. Read it if you're into highwaymen, but as a Georgian romance, you might want to skip it.
Btw, the copyright is 1992, is that Fabio on the cover??