About the book:
Jared, Viscount Ravenswood, has no choice but to honor the deathbed wish of his servant: that he introduce her soon-to-be orphaned daughter to the notorious Duchess of Clairborne. But this is no ordinary child. She's the key to the Duchess's shocking secrets, and to Jared's own unexpected past.
I got this one when I read a great review at Sanctuary's Finest. Earlier I mentioned how much I had enjoyed The Real Deal, but then how much I loathed Come Up and See Me Somtime. This one ended up falling somewhere in the middle. I liked it, I really did. In fact part way through the book I went out and got the first two in the series. I liked Jared. I thought he was an interesting hero, a bit rougher than your normal Viscount so I liked that. And I liked Calantha too. But ultimately I ended up docking points on this one because it was such a cliched story line. The heroine is one of those "virgin widows" with the "evil dastardly husband". I didn't find that believable. We're expected to believe that her "evil dastardly husband" raped servants right left and centre yet didn't touch her for four years. Unh uh - didn't buy it. On top of that, once she meets the hero, she, who has been abused for four years, becomes a died in the wool sex kitten. Nope - didn't really buy that either. Ms. Monroes writing is good. I will read the first two - sometime. And it cleared away the awfulness that was CUASMS so I'm glad I read it, but I just didn't enjoy it as much as Jazz.
Grade: 3 1/2 out of 5
Don't Look Down by Suzanne Enoch
Enoch introduced art thief Samantha Jellicoe and her British multibillionaire lover Rick Addison in Flirting with Danger (2005). Now the fearless, feisty, "semi-reformed" Samantha is back for a second caper, and so is long-suffering Rick. Having finally decided to leave her life of crime, Samantha goes into the security business. But being legitimate doesn't come easy. Samantha resents all of the unsolicited advice Rick offers, and Stoney, her partner, best friend, and fence, keeps trying to get her to return to the more lucrative life of crime. Plus, there's always the fear that a colleague from her former life, a police officer, or someone she's robbed, will show up at her office. Things aren't much better on the home front. Rick's ex-wife, Patricia, wants Rick back, even if she has to frame Samantha for a crime she didn't commit. As the cherry on the cake, Samantha's first customer turns up dead. With their undeniable chemistry, their witty repartee, and their adventures sleuthing in the glamorous world of Palm Beach glitterati, Samantha and Rick are reminiscent of The Thin Man 's Nick and Nora.
I read Flirting with Danger, really enjoyed it and was delighted to see that Ms. Enoch was planning on a series with these two lead characters. I bought this one when it first came out and it languised on my TBR pile for a while. I figured I'd best get to it when I bought the third one, Billionaires Prefer Blondes. I'm glad I got to this one because it's delightful!! I adore Sam. She's a former cat burglar who's finding it difficult to go straight. She is such a hoot. Strong, independant, she makes Rick, the hero, work for her. I like that in a heroine. And Rick - what a great hero he is. English, rich and a billionaire, he's still down to earth and mad about Sam. I like that in a hero.
This series is very reminicent of the In Death series with a few differences. Sam is a strong, knows her own mind and won't be trampled by the hero heroine. She's also afraid to commit to the hero. Rick is an English (as opposed to Roarke's Irish), rich business man who is more that willing to take the relationship further. They are slowly developing a circle of good friends. They are both very hot for each other. But the differences make then very good too. These are much lighter than the In Death books. Sam isn't nearly as tortured as Eve and Rick seems much more good-natured than Roarke. There seems to be more of a focus on the romance - at least in the first two. The In Death books are shelved in the mystery section around my parts, which I think is right. But this series is shelved in the romance section, which I also think is right.
I'm looking forward to more of these ones.
I haven't read that many of her historicals although I do have a number to be read, but I'm really enjoying her contemporaries.
Grade: 4 out of 5