But, I was frankly very disappointed in it. Several friends & fellow romance readers told me it simply was a MUST READ!, and certainly the reviews on this page bear this book out as being a favorite among romance readers. I really hate to be the one dissenting voice, but I did not find this book to be that compelling.
I was firstly disappointed in the fact that there's an instant physical attraction between Rafe & Vivian. For such a strong & independent woman, she's practically drooling over him from the instant she meets him. He's getting that special feeling in his pants from the instant he meets her, too. Sheesh! I thought he was keen to solve his friend's murder & his family's disgrace? From the minute he meets Vivian, Rafe TELLS himself he "shouldn't feel this" for her, but telling himself that doesn't stop him from HAVING those feelings...and vice-versa for Vivian. How lame. Couldn't she have shown more independence? Couldn't he? Instead of being struck with lust by her, couldn't he have felt stronger disgust for her line of work, or her lack of feminine hoity-toity graces, or something?? Shouldn't an experienced criminal like Vivian been even more suspicious of the newcomer, less welcoming?
And I have to admit I didn't find anything too compelling about the mystery of the identities of Topaz, Silver, et al., or who was behind the plot to put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne in place of Elizabeth I. This kind of ties into my feeling that there was no tension to this story; I was able to put it down & pick up it later (much later) with no problem. It certainly wasn't a "must read!" plot for me.
Yeah, the sexy scenes were sexy, but again, a feeling of "haven't I read this before?" kept cropping up...Frankly, if Emma Holly had written this book, it would have been much better. At least she would have given the (...) Nick and Rosy's story a much needed boost. (Emma Holly is the only female writer I know of, who's capable of writing about two men in love, and making it sexy.)
As it is, it was hard to believe Nick Swift was capable of anything decisive, much less being in charge of a band of thieves in a deadly territory of Elizabethan London. And I could just tell that Rosy, his lover, was going to turn on him at some point in the story -- and golly gee! I was right.
There was just something so -- I don't want to say it, it's really too strong a word, but I guess I have to -- homophobic, about making the (...) character die, and having his lover be the killer. It just seemed so weak of the author, to fall into this easy-way-out-end of their story, in favor of jumping forward with the saga of Vivian & Rafe.
I'm not happy about how much I didn't enjoy this book -- when a book comes highly recommended, I really expect it to be something special. Sorry, my friends, this book wasn't.