on April 25, 2004
I had read one Amanda Quick story which was Deceptions and I enjoyed it so I thought I would get another to read.I might have been unfortunate to find the only other book in her collection which was almost the same story.
The heroines had the same*blue stocking* personalities,both raised by unconventional people.Both had written articles on antiquities and did not care for their reputations.Cold blooded Colchester is almost the same character as the the hero in Deceptions who lacks the Flamecrest fire.Both heroines talk about emotion and passion with logic and not feeling.
Both books have ancient languages that need to be translated.Plus a focus on ancient matriomonial customs ,,,,,,,I started to really wonder if this was the same book.There are also a pair of lesbian lovers thrown in to the equation which has turned up yet again in a third book by the same author, (Seduction).By now I was wondering if I was reading the same story.The heroes both have mortal enemies who can be persuaded to become amenable.The heroine is being pursued for her ancient treasure in both books.Overall I found 25 similarities between the two books,by that point I gave up counting.Reading Mischief on it's own would be best.
on September 14, 2001
I first discovered Amanda Quick some years back, well before I discovered Signet Regencies and most other Regency historicals. I enjoyed some of her early books, but was under no illusions that her books were particularly representative of Regency society or the typical Regency woman. In some senses, a new author Julia Quinn reminds me of Amanda Quick, except that Quinn's writing and plotting has been improving slowly in a relatively career. It is hard to say whether Quick has peaked as a writer, since I do not read her works under other names. Among her books, I most enjoyed SCANDAL (not a typical Quick), DESIRE (not typical either, being a raucously funny ahistorical medieval), and SURRENDER (where the story certainly takes an untypical turn). I picked up the audio tape of MISCHIEF, partly as a way to get through this book and to try audio book versions of authors while I walked or did errands about the house.
Warning: Firstly, romances can sound very different when read aloud than when a reader reads a print version. In the audio version, the skill of the narrator is all-important. My version (not the one available at Amazon) was narrated by Barbara Rosenblat who is excellent at rendering voices and accents. No problems there. The set consisted of 9 tapes, and was unabridged.
Now the problems begin. Firstly, since I listen slower (and more inattentively) than I read, it did not take much time before I spotted the villain, or the principal villain anyway. What I could not figure out is why this was not obvious to Imogen and Matthias. Secondly, Imogen sounds pretty irritating, and her breathiness comes through all too unfortunately. By comparison, Clare (DESIRE), Emily (SCANDAL) and Victoria (SURRENDER) were definitely not irritating, even though Emily also used swear words liberally. Thirdly, I was hard put not to laugh through the lovemaking scenes. I had never previously thought of Quick writing purple prose, but those descriptions certainly fitted that description. Let me say that I did not linger over *those* scenes.
Now about the plot. The hero is an enthusiast of ancient Zamar (a civilization constructed by Quick) and an amateur archaeologist who is estranged from his father and the rest of his family. He meets the heroine, because of a promise made to her late uncle. The heroine, it turns out, is not only enthusiastic about ancient Zamar, but she is, well, enthusiastic about almost everything else, including investigation of a friend's mysterious death. In the process, she acts somewhat recklessly. Furthermore, the heroine (Imogen) thinks of the hero (Matthias) as a person with "weak nerves", and persists in this self-delusion although everyone else clearly knows differently. It is a mystery how Imogen and her aunt have the kind of access to high society that permits them to be suitable chaperone for Patricia (Matthias's half-sister) who is an earl's daughter - especially considering that they reside in a house that has been rented in the past by shady characters, to say the least. But Quick is not known for internal consistency within plots.
Patricia is another breathless young woman, whose rudeness to her erstwhile chaperones and general credulity took my breath away. Her relations with Matthias are sketched lightly, in part because the story concentrates on the romance between Imogen and Matthias.
The most interesting part of the story was ancient Zamar, and Matthias and Imogen's involvement with that long-vanished civilization, not to mention the society fad with all things Zamarian. The rest of the story was weak, with the murder mystery being ho-hum. One of the weak points was the credulity of high society regarding a certain titled person; one would assume that society had neither heard of peerage reference works or of the House of Lords. The involvement of this person in the story rather strained my belief in the solution of the murders.
For the story as a whole
Heroine = 2 stars (very irritating)
Hero = 4.5 stars (rather interesting childhood and youth; unorthodox interests and attitudes)
Secondary characters = 3.8 stars (some interesting characters; irritating sister and housekeeper)
Romance = 3.5 stars (competent, but not engrossing)
Mystery = 3.1 stars (villain guessed almost at outset; motives and methods made little sense)
Bedroom scenes = 2 stars (irritating, and made me want to laugh)
Overall rating = 3.2 stars.
This is not a Quick I would recommend to most people; even Quick devotees will be somewhat disappointed. I would advise them, instead to read SURRENDER or one of the other Quick novels written before 1995.
on September 15, 2000
I am new to this genre but have been really enjoying it! Out of the four Amanda Quick that I have read (the others were Affair, Mistress and With This Ring), this has been the best. It is excellent in terms of romance, character development and the whodunnit factor as well as having many humorous moments. I also thought it touched upon some very real truths about why people are drawn to each other--rare for this type of book.
I also like how Amanda Quick's heroines are never fooled by the sometimes dubious reputations of the heros. Even though the villains of the novels try to feed them lies about the heros her heroines never believe it--they are smart cookies!
on August 21, 2000
This book was the third I read by Ms. Quick and is the third excelent book I've read by her. Imogen was just so loveable and Matthias was another of those heroes I wish I could have to myself. It was interesting to see how both of these characters evolved during the story. Patricia also added a little something extra to the storyline and made the story more enjoyable. Lastly, usually in a book I can predict exactly who dunnit but this book had several plot twists, even in the very beginning, that kept me on my toes waiting to find out what happens next. This book is a great read that I would recommend to anyone who loves romance with a little bit of mystery.
on July 30, 2000
Imogen Waterstone needed help to destroy the man she believed murdered her best friend, the man who participated in her social ruin. Who better than Matthias Marshall, Earl of Colchester, the man who discovered the lost island of Zamar? Imogen decides that Matthias is not the man of action she assumed he would be, that in fact, he is subject to nerves. No matter what his reputation or what others say about him, Imogen will not believe anything bad about Matthias. Bemused, Colchester finds his match in the strong-willed, unpredictable Imogen.
The thing that most attracts me to Amanda Quick books are the strange and wonderful heroines. They discount anything bad about the hero and, ultimately, lead him like a dangerous panther on a leash. Then there is the witty repartee. Exquisite and delightfully humorous.
on May 26, 2000
I love Amanda Quick's books, but this one didn't seem to have the sparkle and shine of previous books. To me, it didn't grab me by the collar and yank me into the plot. It still enjoyed it, but I found some things wrong with the plot. 1) The mystery was all over the place. It seemed like Ms. Quick just spontaneously thought things up and decided to stick them in. It was almost as if she didn't know who she wanted her bad guy to be until the last couple pages and then added them in hurridly. 2) The side characters didn't make me feel for them. I usually adore the side characters and plots in Ms. Quick's books, but the other people in *Mischief* didn't make me feel for them. I wanted more of an explanation for the relationship between Hugo and Patricia. They kind of faded off at the end, and I was left with some questions. 3) I'm back to the mystery again. It reasolved too close to the end. In other Quick books, there is still some time with the characters even after they found out who the bad guy was. In *Mischief* there were only about ten pages left after the murderer was discovered.
But there are a lot of reasons why I did like it, and I felt that it really did deserve five stars. 1) I could really identify with Imogen. I loved that she was often clumsy, as that is a trait that I suffer from (don't we all?). Her love of ancient things also sped the plot along when there were parts that it might start to drag. 2) Mathias was unusual and delightful. He let Imogen do what she wanted to do and didn't usual restrict her from being herself. He also kept up her illusion that he had weak nerves which was cute. 3) Zamar. I loved it! It was nice to have a legend be the common ground that tied Imogen and Mathias together. I loved reading about it, and I hope Ms. Quick incorperates it into her next books. *Mischeif* does have it's faults, but hey, that's what keeps authors humble. If they write fantastic peices all the time (although *Mischeif* was pretty darn close to perfect) they don't have any constructful comments to work off of. All in all, *Mischeif* is a great, light hearted love story that is highly recomended to any romance or Amanda Quick fan.
on May 17, 2000
I'm an avid Amanda Quick reader and usually can finish her books in two days while still functioning in life and doing the usual mundane day-to-day things. Such was not the case with _Mischief_, I absolutely *could not* put this book down -- I finished it in one day. Not only are the characters amazing, the plot moved along at such a wonderfully fast pace that I didn't even realize time was passing. I became absorbed in the story -- it was like a was watching a movie. The characters and scenery are so vivid that I felt like I was part of the story. It was as if I was peering over the shoulders of the main characters and experiencing the action right along with them. As always, Ms. Quick created characters that are captivating and dazzling. Matthias is dangerous, dark and mysterious. There is an air about him that is fascinating. He is the very picture of a heart-stopping hero. Imogen is charmingly clumsy. She is headstrong and unconcerned what Society thinks. Watching these two together was not only enchanting but intoxicating. They have an outstanding chemistry that bursts into life whenever they're together. I loved the way that Imogen always insisted upon leading whenever they danced and how it amused and frustrated Matthias. Also, Imogen's insistence that Matthias has delicate sensibilities is extremely funny! Unlike most readers, I had no problem with the talk of ancient Zamar. I saw it for what it was -- a plot device designed to move the story along and give the main characters something in common. I found lost Zamar quite interesting and bewitching and adored the added depth it gave to Matthias and Imogen's relationship. The very last scene will touch your heart and bring tears to your eyes! _Mischief_ was an outstanding experience and I highly recommend this book for either the long-time Amanda Quick fan or the first-time reader. _Mischief_ is a choice example of what Amanda Quick does so well.