Unveiled, a July Leisure Historical Romance, is the first book from new author Jenni Licata. I, for one, am glad that I will be able to say I remember when her first book came out, because Jenni is destined to become a big name in romance. Unveiled is a dynamic British historical, set in the early 18th century, with terrific characters. The story is engaging and entertaining, and the hero and heroine are appealing, three-dimensional characters.
In the beginning of the book, the heroine, Lady Victoria Wynter, floats through a ballroom dressed in costume, including mask. The first mystery in this story is the identity of this masked lady. But, it isn't the masked lady who is unveiled; Alexandre Rawlings, Earl of Carlton, figures out Tori's identity very early in the story. The mystery that is unveiled is much more intriguing and surprising. In fact, I wasn't sure which of two secondary characters was going to be the bad guy and which the good until very near the end.
The attraction between Alex and Tori is believable and compelling. Tori is trying to protect her younger brother, Charles, and is therefore forced into situations she wouldn't normally be in because of that. Alex feels the need to protect Tori, which conflicts with his pre-ordained mission for the queen. I was somewhat uncertain why the fact that Alex's mother was French was such a burden on Alex; I guess I may need a refresher on my 18th century English history. However, the fact that Alex took on a responsibility which conflicted with his personal beliefs and his feelings for Tori made for some interesting moments.
Jenni has created very real, well-drawn characters with a great deal of sexual tension and chemistry. Tori is an independent, intelligent woman, if somewhat naive and single-minded. Alex is honorable, misunderstood, and sensitive, although not particularly fond of London society. There were a few places in the story where I thought the language was somewhat stilted, but the story was compelling and kept me reading late into the night.
I am truly looking forward to Jenni's next book. I believe she has a great deal of talent for historical romance and will certainly go on to write many more great books! Be sure to pick up Unveiled and enjoy!