by Amanda Quick
The first kiss occurred in a dimly lit hallway on the upper floor of Elwin Hastings's grand house. Louisa never saw it coming....
Of course, Anthony Stalbridge couldn't possibly have had romantic intentions. The kiss was an act of desperation meant to distract the armed guard from catching the pair in a place they did not belong. After all, Louisa Bryce, in her dull maroon gown and gold-rimmed spectacles, was no man's idea of an alluring female. The only thing the two interlopers have in common is a passionate interest in the private affairs of Mr. Hastings-a prominent member of Society whom they both suspect of hiding terrible secrets. Now, brought together by their ruse, Anthony and Louisa are united in their efforts to find the truth.
Each has a reason for the quest. Anthony's fiancèe was said to have thrown herself into the Thames-but Anthony has his own suspicions. Louisa-whose own identity is shrouded in layers of mystery-is convinced that Hastings has a connection to a notorious brothel. When Anthony successfully cracks Hastings's hidden safe-and discovers incriminating evidence-it appears that both their instincts were correct.
Genre: Adult, Historical
Publication Date: April 24th 2007
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Format: hardcover, 368 pages
Source: Used book store
Amanda Quick is the kind of hit-or-miss author for me. Either I love her stories from the very first page, or I just instantly know I won't be interested enough to finish it.
Thankfully, this one was a delight from beginning to end. Very much like Mischief was. When Quick gets it right, boy, she gets it VERY right. Her heroines are all so very independent, self-suficient and practical about things, they are very fresh sights for sore eyes in the middle of the sea of too-young and too-silly heroines we usually find in historical romances. No, her heroines are in their middle-twenties, they are generally alone in the world and just have to be clever enough to survive in a world where women are nothing without a man to stand beside them. Or in front of them.
When women found themselves alone and without means during that time, they were expected to do anything, ANYTHING, mind you, be it becoming a governess, a companion or even a prostitute, anything BUT go into trade. And that was what our heroine did. At least in the beginning of the book. Before she killed a man who was trying to rape and kill her. After that she was forced to fake suicide, and sometime later managed to reapper in Society as a widow called Louisa. She also managed to attract the eye of gentleman Anthony Stalbridge. But that was not all she managed to attract... now there's a killer on the loose and what started with the investigation of a couple of crimes soon becomes three, then four... and, if she is not careful enough, her murder might be next on the list.
Quick's heroes are always very likeable as well. They are the first ones to notice how much they care about the heroines, and then have to convince them to be with them. It's most unusual and diverting. Yes, Quick is very good with influencing her readers to use new/more 'archaic' vocab. :P
I loved Anthony and Louisa and their misadventures. I could almost feel their chemistry, they were so good together. Too bad Miss Quick isn't much of a fan for steamy scenes, because they sure would have been great at one of those. LOL!!! Anthony's family were delightful as well. Very unconventional, like most of her characters.
That is the perfect word to describe Quick's books: 'unconventional'. That and 'unexpected'.
If you like books like that with strong, proud heroines and amazing, heart-warming heroes, then Quick is the author for you.