Friday, March 30, 2012
A rescued rogue . . .
Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.
A captivating captor. . .
Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin's vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeleine dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth. Together, they'll face great danger—and a passion neither can resist.
Having heard a lot of good things about new to me author Julie Anne Long's Pennyroyal Green Series, I finally took the plunge and got hold of the first book, The Perils of Pleasure. I'm glad I did, for I enjoyed the story and I loved charming and handsome Colin Eversea especially. He is an irresistible scamp who manages to break down the indomitable fortitude of Madeleine Greenway. The book begins as Colin Eversea is sentenced to hang for a murder he didn't commit. But at the last minute he is rescued by a beautiful and enigmatic woman, Madeleine Greenway, who has been hired to have him whisked away in the nick of time. But then a mystery develops. While Colin is in hiding with Madeleine, someone tries to murder her, making it apparent that whoever wanted him freed wants her dead as well. Who hired her in the first place and why would they want her dead? The two wind up on the run throughout the the more dangerous areas of London while trying to solve the puzzle of who framed Colin for murder and why.
There are many suspects, but nothing definitive, but the most likely is someone from the Redmond family which has been feuding with the wealthy Everseas for centuries. Or could another suspect be Colin's elder brother Marcus, who also happens to be marrying the woman Colin has been in love with forever? How does she feel about this turn of events? Colin was meant for her, but with his going to the gallows, his brother has stepped in, chivalrously I might add, to take his brothers place. Colin is not about to let the wedding happen. His destination and intentions? His family home in Sussex, Pennyroyal Green, where he intends to stop the wedding - in addition to proving his innocence.
Madeleine Greenway, Colin's partner on the road prides herself on being a professional and not succumbing to the irresistible charm of Colin, no matter how much he tries to worm his way into her heart. Despite his claim to love Lucy, the woman who is about to marry his brother, he still can't stop getting ideas about Madeleine. It's too irresistible. He can't resist the challenge of seducing her. (I told you he's a scamp.) Keeping her distance from him stems from the tough time she's had in the past. Losing her husband and baby to smallpox, she has managed to make a living as "a planner" someone hired to do the impossible - sort of an historical one woman "Mission Impossible." She does not want to fall in love again for she associates love with the pain and loss of her family. She doesn't want to fall prey to those emotions again. Yet Colin is unperturbed by her resistance, confident he can wear her down over time. Even though Colin loves (or thinks he loves) Lucy he still wants to get Madeleine between the sheets. Their close proximity to one another while on the run lends an intimacy to their relationship. One kiss left them both dazed and longing for more. No matter how much Madeleine tries to put up a strong front of indifference to Colin's charms, he's getting to her. She's a woman after all - a woman who hasn't had sex in a long, long time... One little kiss won't hurt, will it? One night together?
For most of the book, this read like an historical mystery. But towards the end, after plenty of build up and sexual tension between Colin and Madeleine, there are one or two naughty interludes between them that leads to the inevitable moment of truth and a "what happens next" conundrum between them. I really enjoyed the story and it's characters to the point where I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series as well, for there are a slew of Everseas and Redmonds to be dealt with in the future. There is plenty of historical flavor and evocative descriptions of Whitechapel, Seven Dials and Newgate Prison, which give the book an authentic feel to it. If you like historical mysteries with enough romance and spice to make them "interesting" you'll enjoy The Perils of Pleasure.