Author: Sherry Thomas
Page Count: 417
Published: Bantam, 2010
There’s always a certain kind of excitement in reading a new author. You never know how it’s going to turn out, especially in the historical romance genre. There’s only so much you can do with your characters, I mean, they’re no vampires or shapeshifters, they can’t have any supernatural powers, they can’t be dead or undead, pass their days without sleeping or eating, and you don’t much see them fighting either unless there’s a short action scene involving a pistol or a few punches. And women? They can’t even wear short skirts let alone kick any asses. But even with these limitations, I see many authors do a great job with their stories, and this was one of them. I think I got it right again this time, and might’ve found an author I’ll follow. Yay me!
The genre itself may be a limited one in terms of action scenes and fantasy elements, but there’s always the build up. I’d take a good friends-to-lovers story any day, or a bickering couple. Best two ways to the altar, rather than love at first sight. But then there’s also those who have already been to the altar-for convenient’s sake, mind you- that make me feel a different kind of excited. This story was one of those.
Elissande-what a musical name!- Edgerton is a desperate woman. Desperate to get away from the cruel clutches of her uncle. And then there’s Lord Vere, the king’s clown, or so people think. They come together in a marriage of convenience, with Elissande originally wanting to trap Lord Vere’s kind brother the prince-although not literally a prince of course- but ending up with the idiot. You know what they say, there’s inspiration in desperation.
Lord Vere had his reasons for acting the part of the idiot, he was trying to hide his true identity as an agent of the crown, and I have to say he was pretty good at it. I think you require a great deal of intelligence to fake idiocy, and I’m sure it must’ve hurt. Not being able to have a single proper conversation with people did take its toll on him. But while I felt sorry for his trapped real personality, I couldn’t help but loving his idiot identity a little. That Vere was clumsy, inappropriate, facetious and of course, an idiot. But there was still something there that endeared him to me. It could’ve been that he was only acting this way though, perhaps knowing that he wasn’t this childlike man had entertained me. Whatever the reasons, Vere was a different hero, one that the heroine had to peel away not layers of cold toughness, but layers of fake stupidity.
Elissande was more in the usual mold of a historical romance heroine. She needed help getting away from her uncle, and the only way was marriage. She was, however, no damsel in distress. She was no cowering woman either. She was strong and compassionate, and a little bit deviant. She was the right woman to see through the lie that was Vere’s life. I liked her.
There was more exciting plot line in this book compared to others in this genre, but that’s expected I guess when your hero is an agent for the government. There was, however, less drama relating to the hero and heroine, which was nice. Don’t get me wrong, there was drama-how can there not be? The hero was an idiot!- but it was limited to the two misunderstanding each other because they were both acting a role, and of course there was an evil uncle in the way. But there was no back and forth when it was time for them to realize their feelings. No one dragged the story for the sake of setting the other free. Whatever little compulsion there was, it was dealt with efficiently, and quick.
It may be a little early, seeing as I’ve only read one book by her, but I might recommend this author to those who’re looking for a good historical. I already have a couple more books by her on my shelves, and who knows, maybe I found someone else who’s going to be trouble in my pocket and on my bookshelf organizing skills. Not to mention a good ingredient for my hodgepodge which will have four spoonfuls of this story in it.