- Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Bantam (July 27 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553587749
- ISBN-13: 978-0553587746
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.6 x 17.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 222 g
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
Almost a Princess Mass Market Paperback – Jul 27 2004
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The killer left a calling card, but only Caspar "Case" Devere, Lord Castleton, a member of Britain's elite Special Branch, knows that the pebble means the murderer is none other than the sadistic, elusive "La Roca." Case meets Jane Mayberry, die-hard bluestocking, confirmed spinster, and dedicated member of the Ladies' Library, during his search for his old nemesis, and is instantly attracted to her. But things aren't at all what they seem. The Ladies' Library is a cover for a clandestine organization that fights for women's rights and provides shelter for victims of abuse. Jane herself has some dark secrets, one of which could get her killed. Well written on many levels as a murder mystery, a historical romance, and a chronicle of women's rights--or lack thereof--this book will appeal to fans of Amanda Quick, Candace Camp, and Lisa Kleypas. The second in a trilogy, this Regency historical follows Thornton's The Perfect Princess [BKL S 15 01], and its cliffhanger ending will make readers anxious for the next installment. Shelley Mosley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
“I buy her books on the basis of her name alone because she always delivers.”—Linda Howard
“I consider Elizabeth Thornton a major find.”—Mary Balogh
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I liked Case's character. As one other reviewer pointed out, he enjoys his life, his position, his friends but below the surface you know that he recognizes that there is more to life. He doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve in the least and the affect of his war experience is subtle and kept to himself. He is involved in a murder investigation that links back to his activities during the war in Spain and knows that a final cat and mouse game to the death is now afoot between himself and his nemesis, Gideon Piers.
He needs to speak to Piers' sister but to find her he must go through a Miss Jane Mayberry, a bluestocking crusader for women's rights who seems inordinately worried about protecting not only the privacy of her friend, but also herself. She exudes distrust and dislike for men and he wonders why. And in a 24 hour period, he sees her as bluestocking, then as lovely debutante at the opera with friends, and then she disappears! His interest is definitely piqued and when they meet again, they become entangled in a romance that reveals her past and the endgame for Case and our villain.
For me, the romance was almost secondary, subdued but I did not really mind too much. The rest of the story was very well developed and even the bad guy had some interesting motivations and characteristics. Sure, he uses the heroine to taunt our hero, but not in the usual hero-saves-her-life-in-the-last-ten-pages fashion. Almost the opposite. Sure things are tidied-up conveniently at the end, but not in an altogether unbelievable way.
I liked this story and some of the secondary characters were great as well - her dog Lance was lovable, Harper was gruffly sweet, Ruggles was a surprise and then there's the charismatic and enigmatic Waldo who looks to be the hero of her next novel. Likable characters and an enjoyable read.
The title didn't fit the story at all.
The story was original and interesting, but there was too much of it and not enough of Case and Jane, especially in the beginning.
The pebble was quite unimaginative and dull. Couldn't the author have used a black rose or something?
Much ado is made about Jane's ability to handle a gun, which she carries with her mostly all the time. But good grief, no wonder men (in those days and probably today) laughed at a woman with a gun. The author led us to believe Jane was practically expert, yet the opposite seemed true. For instance, Jane is accosted in the street, she mentions to herself that her gun is in her reticule, but within seconds the reticule is on the ground and she's off and running.
Another time she's in the company of a few men who give her the creeps. One man asks her to hand over her reticule with the gun inside before she enters a room to speak to their boss. Jane does so without hesitating, then of course, regrets doing so. On another occasion, when she finally does shoot the thing, she misses her target. And her timing was off. Someone else had also fired a shot. Fittingly, Jane is then tackled to the floor.
This might seem trivial, but I don't like it when a heroine is supposed to be good at something normally reserved for men, then it isn't followed through.
It throws the whole story off balance.
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