June 4, 2013
Ok, so I didn't see the "read me first" sign.
Well, color me happy! Now I can sleep at night. Yes, I have returned from the way-back machine after reading Ruined by Moonlight, the first book in the Whispers of Scandals series by Emma Wildes. Who'd have thunk it? There is a little bit of information on the continuing storyline set-up for A Most Improper Rumor, things were made a little clearer to me. I didn't change my opinion as to the mystery who-done it thread. Nope, I still think ruining the pretty-popular-women of the ton is pretty silly. The kidnappings/murders were a teansy-weensy farfetched if all a villain was doing was proving a point. Of course, I don't know what the point was or will be, because as I said it's a continuing mystery.
Nonetheless, I was able to view the beginning of the Ben/Alicia romance and now I love this couple even more. Once again, they were my favorite storyline in the book. Just watching Alicia work her wiles on Benjamin was great fun. I'm not sure why, but I love romance books that have men who have planned their life out to the last toenail. It's always so much fun to watch their well thought out plans turn to dust due to the woman they thought would fit into their stratagems and then she doesn't. That's what happens to poor Ben when he is confronted in the very beginning of the book by his wife’s demands. Ben is stunned when told by his wife that he will be denied access to her bed until they get to know each other better. First of all, Ben was oblivious, he had no idea there was a problem. Secondly, he had no idea how one gets to "know" ones wife better. Watching him flounder was a masterpiece of amusing writing. The Ben and Alicia story was full of everything needed to make a great romance; sexual tension, a dawning of love and a gradual earning of respect for each other.
As in A Most Improper Rumor, there is another couple, Elena and Ran. I will say I liked this couple better than Angelina/Christopher from A Most Improper Rumor. While Elena/Ran seemed to be more of an a-typical romance couple, because they never met before, we are given the opportunity to watch as they test the waters. You know, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly a young historical nubile woman will give her permission to experiment with pre-whankee-woo to a complete stranger. Well, not a complete stranger, someone they have known for, oh, a day or so. I guess I have become so used to it in romance novels that I don't think about it anymore. But anyway, Elena is the protected daughter of an aristocrat and she is very willing to further her education. I thought the way Elena and Ran worked together to solve their problem (being kidnapped) was well written. There were no name callings or suspicions or the "I hate you, kiss me" routines. I found Ran's attitude about being forced into the inevitable to be very believable and I liked him a lot for it.
As I've said before about the other book, the mystery is the weakest part of the story. I knew who the help-the-villain-stooge was long before the ending, but I didn't have a problem with that. The rub was the stooge’s motivation. A big puleese came out of my mouth when it was revealed. While the villain-helper stumbles innocently into that role, their reason for the contact with the villain seemed silly to me.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read; I liked both couples - especially Alicia and Ben. I'm really looking forward to more stories with those two characters and I think Ms. Wildes has created a pair that she shouldn't drop anytime soon.
Time/Place: Regency Romance