February 10, 2016
I'm having Burrowes Brain Freeze
Now it is time for the next to the youngest Windham daughter, Evie/Eve, to take center
stage. As with all of the other Windham siblings, Evie doesn't want to get married. You know after reading seven books in this series in a row I have to confess I am puzzled. Yes puzzled. I don't understand why these children don't want to get married. In every book it is made abundantly clear that their parents Percy and Esther have a loving relationship. Furthermore they are great parents, even with all the schemes and butt-in times, they are still a great example of a family which is built on love. So, I have to ask why the children are so resistant to the idea of finding someone they could build a great relationship with. In fact, that could have been one of the tension building moments in the books - trying to find a mate who could live up to the standards set by their parents. But I am not the writer.
Anyway, we have Evie/Eve. Evie has a secret (don't they all). This secret turns out to be quite a good secret as opposed to some of the silly secrets from the previous books. As with most of Ms. Burrowes books, if you read some of the fine print closely enough you will be able to decipher just what the secret is. We know in the beginning of the story that Evie was thrown from her horse a number of years prior to this story, we also know that she was terribly hurt and had problems walking. She also is a little leery of getting back onto a horse - but there is another darker secret, one that makes her feel unworthy of marriage. As the tale develops we find out that her eldest brother Bart knew the full extent of her disaster. Spoiler. We also find out later in the story that before Bart died, he imparted this information to his friend Lucas.
Lucas and Evie/Eve have been delightful secondary characters in the previous books. One could always count on there being some bickering, bantering and insults between these two when they were in a scene. Their chemistry worked really well in the other books, and I was looking forward to seeing it in this book. As often happens when interesting secondary characters get their own book, sometimes what made them so enjoyable is lost. Lucas and Evie both suffered in the move from secondary to main character. I didn't see as much bantering in this one as I expected, so I didn't enjoy Lady Eve's Seduction as much as I wanted to.
Lucas' blind spot. Lucas may be one of the slower heroes I've seen in a while. It was very obvious from the beginning of this story that his cousin Anthony was up to no good. Anthony used delaying tactics all the time when Lucas would ask for something. He was evasive in his answers. He said disparaging things about Evie. He also seemed to lead a rather rakish life with a boatload of illegitimate children. Lucas' attitude toward all of these illegitimate offspring was a little cavalier. Lucas didn't seem to care whether Anthony was spreading his joy all over, nor did he view this as morally corrupt. I expect at least a frowny face from my heroes when confronted with such behavior. Especially since Lucas' character wasn't written as a degenerate. There were warning bells all over the place that pointed to Anthony as the villain, but Lucas just never caught on. He believed everything Anthony told him. When the ending came I wondered why there was even a villain. There was no retribution, Anthony just disappeared off the pages and ended up on the Island of Misplaced Villains.
On the other hand, I did like the way Ms. Burrowes handled Evie's big secret. Evie's emotional baggage was truly something which would scar a lot of women. Her struggles with this dark trauma were realistic and Lucas' handling of it was gentle and kind. In fact most of the book did an excellent job of painting Evie and Lucas as friends first, lovers second. When Evie and Lucas are the main focus this story really worked; where the story lost some of its momentum was with the secondary plots of taking the niece away from her father, Dolan, and Anthony's villainy. I didn't understand the necessity for either of these plot-lines and thought that they were a distraction from the main focus of the story, Evie and Lucas.
The horse race. Groan - not the good kind. I don't know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes I become embarrassed by things around me that don't have anything to do with me. Maybe there is a character in a book, in a play or a movie who does something silly - or should I say something is written for that character to do which is ridiculous. I have found myself embarrassed for that character. It's an odd feeling, being embarrassed for something which isn't real but there it is. Well, it happened in this story. This embarrassment surrounded a horse race. A horse race involving Lucas, Dolan, Anthony and Evie. I found the whole thing so idiotic I finally had to skip over it. That caused me to bypass a couple of chapters. I don't like to skim over parts of the book I'm reading, you just never know what you might miss. Anyway, the whole Dolan, Anthony, Lucas thing had me grinding my teeth every time they were in a scene together, then they are thrown together for a race/duel/bet with bad guys drugging horse jockey's and then Evie getting into the race. It was just really silly and I wish that there hadn't been any outside plot-line going on.
Overall, I think if I had allowed more time to pass between each book in the series I probably would have liked Lady Eve's Seduction better. As it is, one takes a chance when one gloms an author; not only does one spot patterns, one also sees a sameness in the characters. When characters become interchangeable they also become less exciting as a series progresses. That is/was what is/was happening for me with the Windham series. While I liked Lucas and Evie, I didn't care for the secondary sub plots. I also think in the case of the Windham's, there needs to be a little bit of a space between each book. While I may not recommend this book with a resounding wow, I give it a "decent" recommendation; I also recommend you not glom this series.
Time/Place: Regency England