Attack of the TBR pile: How to Wed a Baron by Kasey Michaels

January 17, 2011

Red Herring Alert!
For those of you who don't know what a red herring is, let me explain. Red herrings, normally found in mystery/suspense stories, are something thrown in that purposely distracts the unwary (aka stupid) reader from the real issue.

Why, you may ask, am I talking about red herrings and How to Wed a Baron in the same sentence? While the book is supposed to be a romance, it is actually first and foremost a road-trip suspense, mystery, thriller story. Yes, my fellow Romanceland readers, the love story takes second seat to the suspense. Actually, it takes a third seat. The heroine, Alina, and love are greatly over-shadowed by our hero Justin. In fact, she is relegated to secondary character.

Justin, Justing, Justin!
When Justin made his appearance in How to Beguile a Beauty, he almost stole the show. In that book, I found his bantering to be a great source of amusement and I suspect Ms. Michaels had a hard time keeping his character from taking over the book.

Well, now Justin's back with his own story! Now we get to see the other side of Justin - and what a side it is! You see, Justin's more than a pretty face; he is also a ruthless, dark, cold-blooded assassin. And I do mean cold-blooded; he has been serving his country in that capacity for years and when it comes to disposing of people, he show's no remorse. I found his character to be totally engrossing, which is a good thing. However, it's also a bad thing because this is a romance with two people in it.

The romance plays a secondary role to all the skulduggery that's going on. There are assassins, spies, evil monarchs, chases through the countryside, hiding in a caravan of Romany. This is a romance in which the characters, especially Justin, fall instantly in love with each other. So, there is no growing. And, of course, he is not good enough for her. Then there's Alina, who can see the good in Justin...she must have some eye-sight, because Justin keeps his good side well hidden and we the readers can see that he is really a scary, ruthless killer. And I for one wondered how Alina could see what she saw.

There were two secondary characters - Stefan, the cocky Rom, and Wigglesworth the humorous foppish valet who were the comedy relief.

How to Wed a Baron was difficult to review, I loved the dangerous hero; because of him I found it hard to put the book down. However, I found the romance weak.

This is a good book that's light on romance, has a complex suspenseful plot and a terribly complicated, tortured hero.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot

P.S. Watch out for the red herrings - there are many in this story and they are very complicated.


Tracy said...

I read this one and thought it was pretty good. I hadn't read the previous books in the series though and sometimes that makes a difference. Definitely light on the romance but what was there was good.

SidneyKay said...

Yes, I loved Justin. I just didn't like the second in the series. I'm not sure what I did with the first one since I buy all of Kasey Michaels historical books. It's probably under something somewhere, because I don't remember reading it.