An Affair with Mr. Kennedy by Jillian Stone

February 9, 2012
The guy with the kaleidoscope eyes
Can’t our heroes have just regular, plain ol’ blue eyes? The one in this book has a variety of blues, which I have included for your edification, even though there is more than one shade of these three colors. So, Zak, our hero, depending on what he’s doing has changeable eyes. They can be Cerulean or Sapphire or Prussian blue.  Don’t know which shade of Cerulean, Sapphire, or Prussian they be, but he’s a real colorful guy. And, in all cases, they are penetrating.

And, by the way, does anyone else think the female model on the front cover bears a striking resemblance to Liv Tyler?  My daughter doesn't see it.

Now to the book. An Affair with Mr. Kennedy is the debut novel of Jillian Stone and the beginning of the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series. Even though the changing blue eyes struck me as a tad bit absurd, it dawned on me that the handsome hero’s orbs were being seen through the eyes of the heroine, who just happens to be an artist. So, maybe she would say Cerulean. I’m digressing. 

An Affair with Mr. Kennedy steps into a different time period than my usual reads, and that’s refreshing. We wander into the Victorian era around the time of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Contrary to what a few people believe when one says Victorian time, this time period was seeped in dark, underground, perverse shenanigans; it’s just there was a pretty strait-laced façade in place. Ms. Stone has done her research. There was a lot of real history jam-packed in this book: the Impressionist art movement, suffrage effort, Irish home rule, a group called the Fenian Brotherhood. So much going on and it was all beautifully blended with the fake history. There were times when the stuff that was going on in the background overshadowed the romance of the book.

Let’s turn to the romance in the book. Even though I would have to say this is more of a suspense romance than a pure romance, yes, my little petunia’s we do have a romance couple. There is Cassie, our budding artist, whose upbringing has been very progressive (to say the least). Her mother could have been one of the Pankhurst women; she even goes so far as to encourage her daughter into taking a lover and purchasing some condoms for her. Now, Cassie happens to be looking for a place to live on her own.  She wants to be free, free and a famous artist.  Now, because all free famous artists have lovers, she is on the lookout for one too. 

Enter Zeno “Zak” Kennedy, her landlord, who also happens to be one of Scotland Yard’s smartest, solve-any-crime, able to leap tall buildings (along with his giant sidekick Timothy Toad), detective. The moment Cassie and Zak see each other the sparks fly and it doesn’t take long before this couple is bouncing all over the place.

There are of course a number of villains and conspiracies and chases and attempted kidnapings and bombs. There were moments of hair-raising suspense as Zak races to catch the bad guys before they can blow up the Queen – which by the way was one of my favorite parts of the book. The race was a well written nail-biter.

Now, mixed in with all this suspense and nail-biting was a l-o-t of sex. Almost too much sex and I confess I did do some skipping of scenes. The secondary characters could have been very interesting - the mother, brother, father, housekeeper, future heroes and villains - but at times they seemed to be flat. I also had a slight problem how abruptly one scene ended and the next began. I became used to it after a while, but it did take away from my overall enjoyment of the story. There were a couple of scenes I could have done without: the discussion with the maid over the humongous size of Zak’s Mr. Toad was a little icky, and, the questioning of Zak’s dead ex-mistress-no-she’s alive prisoner reminded me a little of Stella Cameron’s bad women who try to seduce the hero. Didn’t like it, didn’t think it was needed to make the story move along.

Overall, I liked this book and thought it was a good beginning to a series of Scotland Yard suspense-romance stories. However, I will say that the best part of the book was the suspense, and the romance was the weak part (even with all the sex).

Time/Place: Victorian England/France
Sensuality Rating: Burning

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