April 10, 2014
"A good agent doesn't need gadgets. The only gadgets I've ever needed are
a sharp eye, sensitive hearing and a whole bunch of bigger brains. "
Spoilers ahead. I love a good series as much as the next person. In fact, most of the books I
read are part of a series. I'm so accustomed to reading a story from the series, that I often think I see reoccurring characters in books that aren't part of a series. That's maddening. Series come with a variety of plot lines. We have the siblings-orphans-spies-brotherhood-spinsters-mistresses-friends-vampires-werewolves-shapeshifters, etc. Sometimes these books are just connected by the relationship between these people and sometimes there is a continuing thread through all of the stories. Even though I love connecting stories, I have to admit I have a short memory and I don't always remember who did what to whom, when or where. I find it even harder to remember events when there is a continuing storyline, especially if that storyline doesn't grab me in the very first book.
In the case of the Redgrave series, I was underwhelmed from the very beginning. The only book in this series I liked was What a Lady Needs; the rest were just a lackluster convoluted telling of some sort of mystery involving a hellfire club and the wearing of the rose lapel pin. This is the series with the Redgrave family who are sort of in hiding, but not really, and at the same time they are trying to save the country and get to the bottom of who is in the hellfire club.
This story revolves around Max Redgrave. He's the brother who is ... are you ready...a spy! Yes, he's a spy! Because he is a spy he wears blue tinted glasses... why? I don't know, but they make him look dangerous. Seriously, blue tinted glasses make men look dangerous? Yep, especially since he wears them half-way down his nose, so, he's looking over them. Maybe he's channeling Gary Oldman from Dracula, who knows? By the way, we never do find out why he's wearing those glasses, but then there's a lot in this book we never get to find out the why of. For all of you readers who are keeping track of spies in romance books, this is one of the inept spies. Of course, there could be a reason for his ineptness, he has a partner... Zoe.
At the beginning of the book he hatesssss Zoe, because she betrayed him to the French and lots and lots of good inept spies were killed because of her... so, he hatesssss her. But wait! He's wrong... she didn't betray him... she lied to save him from the e-v-i-l Anton who is in league with the rose lapel pin people. Because Max discovers he was wrong about Zoe, there is no revenge plot in this book - it falls by the way side and they can hop into bed almost right away. However, since there isn't any sexual tension created in this story, you may miss the first hippidy-hoppidy moment. Then Max's brain becomes lust-logged and he turns into an even more inept spy. That doesn't stop he and Zoe from trying to track down the grand pooh-ba of the hellfire club. As it turns out, the grand pooh-ba is a woman... gasp! Who can it be? And, who is her side-kick? You know, the oh-so-dumb guy with the oh-so-handsome face? Don't forget to look at the family portraits...there are clues there and more roses. Where, oh where is the mysterious book that tells all the secrets of the club? And, what is Anton's connection to all of this? Do we care?
Do not fear kiddoes because alllll of the Redgraves are back to solve these mysteries, plus some pirates with a captain who I think I'm supposed to recognize from some other book but I don't. He is called The Black Ghost, so he must be one of the Beckets from the Romney Marsh series, which I know I read and which I don't remember. So, we don't have enough characters with the gazillion Redgraves - oh no, we have to bring in the Becket's too. Let's not forget the Cooper family, who are really bad people - maybe. Or just maybe they have been led astray my the she-wolf leader of the hellfire society - the ones with the rose lapel pins.
So, we have all of these people, conspirators and spies and they are running all over the place, through secret tunnels that aren't so secret because the doors to the tunnels are left open. Kate Redgrave pretends to be Zoe in an attempt to have Anton follow her (Kate). And, I guess that works, because soon Zoe and Max are in bed together...but wait, Anton shows up so Zoe hides under the bed. No one will ever think to look under the bed, and Max is some place in the room on top of the canopy or something. Zoe can watch Anton's boots as he moves around the room...but wait another pair of boots - it's the Becket captain from Romney Marsh! He's come to save the day. Thank goodness, now they can find the leader of the hellfire society.
Off Zoe and Max go, discreetly, stealthy-like - creeping through the dark and what do they find? The mysterious handsome man - dead. And the female leader? Well, she's dead too. So, I guess Max and Zoe don't have anything to do but twiddle their thumbs and all that creeping and crawling was for...nothing. We do get to find out who the woman was in the very end, and that, kiddoes, was a surprise. However, the whole book was one convoluted path to nothing over and over again.
I know you've heard this before; if the couple in the story had only talked to each other. Why, I've even said that myself. Well, my fellow whiners, some times you get what you wish for and wish you hadn't. This story is an example of what happens when the main romantic couple talk to each other in the first chapters of the book. Almost immediately they have worked their past problems out and confessed most of their lies to each other. There is no big misunderstanding that keeps them apart and there is no tension - of any kind. The romance was bland, there was nothing captivating. Every single time they arrived at a place to solve a problem, it was already taken care of...all that racing around and going nowhere. It seemed to me as if the author was in a hurry to wrap this series up so she could start a new one. I was disappointed in all but one story in this series.
Time/Place: Napoleon/Regency England
Sensuality: Indifferent Hot