Thursday, May 06, 2010

Recent Read

I'm taking a quick break from my adventures at RT to do a book I read while I was there.

His at Night by Sherry Thomas

Why this one: I’ve met Sherry a few times now at conferences/conventions and she’s such a great person. I have all her books though as yet some unread. When I saw this one in the goodie room at RT, I started glancing right and left to make sure it wasn’t a mistake and then grabbed real quick before someone could take them away.

Steam Level: Oh yes, it was nice and toasty

Blurb: Elissande Edgerton is a desperate woman, a virtual prisoner in the home of her tyrannical uncle. Only through marriage can she claim the freedom she craves. But how to catch the perfect man?

Lord Vere is used to baiting irresistible traps. As a secret agent for the government, he’s tracked down some of the most devious criminals in London, all the while maintaining his cover as one of Society’s most harmless—and idiotic—bachelors. But nothing can prepare him for the scandal of being ensnared by Elissande.

Forced into a marriage of convenience, Elissande and Vere are each about to discover they’re not the only one with a hidden agenda. With seduction their only weapon against each other—and a dark secret from the past endangering both their lives—can they learn to trust each other even as they surrender to a passion that won’t be denied?

My Thoughts: One of the reasons I’m having a hard time remembering some of the stuff at RT is because I spent time reading – a lot of time reading considering I was at a conference, even though it was a book conference. I would go and find places to read as I didn’t want to put this one down and there were a few events I may have skipped so I could read.

This is one of those books where the characters are more than they seem and as the story goes along, slowly, layer after layer, their true selves are revealed. Jo Goodman excels at this and so does Sherry Thomas.

First off the hero, Lord Vere is not at all what he appears to others. To them he is an idiot, blathering on about nonsense, a clumsy, muddled, albeit handsome oaf whose fall from a horse tragically altered his former personality.

Then there is the heroine, Elissande Edgerton who was taken in by her aunt and uncle when her parents died. Despite giving up her own life to care for her ailing aunt, she still smiles brightly when she is forced to offer up to home to neighbours suffering from a rat infestation.

But neither Vere nor Elissande are what they appear to be; instead they are both multi-layered characters with their own agendas.

Where to begin? It would almost be easy to dislike Elissande in her deviousness and plotting except that we see inside her and her desperation in saving herself and even more, her aunt from a monster. She will do whatever it takes to rescue the both of them even going as far as trapping one of her unexpected guests into marriage. She originally settles on Vere, but it doesn’t take long for her to see Vere for the idiot he pretends to be and switch her scheming to his brother. But Vere is onto her – he thinks – and he ends up being her victim. I found Elissande to be a fascinating character. And as her character is unwrapped, she’s a lot softer and vulnerable than we think

Vere is an equally intriguing character and even more layered than Elissande. For years he has lived the character he had developed to hide his real personality so he can work cases for the Crown. As everyone believes he’s a bumbling fool, they don’t notice when he stumbles into some interesting places. He is initially very attracted to Elissande but he is fooled by her public persona and quickly realizes she is willing to use him or his brother. And for her part, she also believes the ‘public’ face that everyone sees in Vere.

Watching these two interact with each other, despising who they think the other is, they slowly come to realize how much they have in common.

This is a Very Good and Compelling Book and I had the hardest time putting it down, even in the midst of a week long party.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5


Nicole McLaughlin said...

She is quickly becoming one of my favs. I think we can some point (although I LOVE them)historicals start getting very monotonous but she always pulls me in right away! Cant wait to read this one!!!

Kim in Baltimore said...

The cover is gorgeous, reminding me of a sunrise that brightens the day. Sounds like the book brightened the conference for you!

I shall buy this book to read at the beach!

Karenmc said...

I'm really ready to read this book. Sherry creates wonderful, fully realized characters.

Jill D. said...

Aaacckk!! I really regret that I didn't pick this one up. What was I thinking???? Anyway, glad you enjoyed it!

orannia said...

Oh, I've yet to read a Sherry Thomas book, but this sounds really good and I love the marriage of convenience trope....I'm keen! Thank you Kristie!

Anonymous said...

Hmm...but what is the actual plot? I like Thomas's writing, but this book sounds a little too much like The Scarlet Pimpernel meets Mr. Impossible. After her first three books relied on the same gimmick (reunited lovers+flashbacks), I hope Thomas's new one isn't riffing off other writers' books. I'm anxious to see what she can do all on her own, no narrative frills or inspired plots and characters.

~ames~ said...

Eep! I like Sherry Thomas's writing and she's an auto-buy author. I'm glad you liked this one!!

Frannie said...

I'm hesitant about the Sherry Thomas -- I remember at least two other historicals, one by Celeste Bradley and one by Christina Dodd (I think), that had the hero pretending to be an idiot for similar reasons and I mostly felt embarrassment for them. Still, she's an excellent writer and can maybe pull it off - I'll try. Do let us know about the Kobo. I have a Sony (love it!) but want to buy an e-reader for my daughter and the price is so much lower!

Kristie (J) said...

Frannie: Since we spend a lot of time in Vere's head, it didn't bother me. And most of the story takes place in either the country party or in small meetings. It's not like he makes a fool of himself in large parties - if you get what I mean.
There's a great interview with Sherry Thomas at AAR (and a giveaway) and in the interview she explains it very well.

Ames: I think you will really like this one. It's not quite so angsty as her other books. While I love her writing, there was one I tried reading and just wasn't in the right place to read something as painful as the one I tried - not to say I don't fully intend on going back and reading it when I'm in a happy place *laughing*

Anonymous: I didn't want to give to much of the story away since first, it's not out yet and second, a lot of people don't like spoilers. But to try and put it in a nutshell, it's about two people who are wed, him totally against his will, and her because she is desperate to escape her current conditions - and how they slowly discover that neither are the person they thought they had wed. And there are no flashbacks in this one ;-)

Orannia: *grin* this one is more of a marriage of INconvenience. Vere is NOT a happy camper! because of Elisande's machinations. But it is an excellent story.

Jill: I know you missed this one!! I got it in the goody room (along with Meredith Duran's new book). But if I remember, you did get a couple of good ones yourself :-)

KarenMc: She is a great writer and while the writing in this book isn't quite as dense as a Jo Goodman, still the writing is of the same calibre and I think Jo Goodman is one of the best - which makes Sherry Thomas one of the best too!

Kim: She really has been blessed with GORGEOUS covers for all her books hasn't she? And my your brave taking a book to the beach *g*. I don't dare get any of mine anywhere near water!!

Nicole Mc: This is only the third or fourth historical I've read this year. I just don't have the same draw towards them I used too. But luckily all the ones that I HAVE read have been wonderful. And that certainly includes this one.

nath said...

This one sounds very interesting :D I've never read this author before... she always felt a bit too avant-guarde to me, but this one should suit me nicely :D

Kaetrin said...