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on 21 July 2009
When the second sentence of this English-set historical romance had a character say, "Yes, yes, Lizzie, I'm nearly done here," my heart sank. We don't say "done" but "finished" in this context and I feared another book chock-ful of historical dialogue inaccuracies and more.

Although accuracy wasn't this book's forté, after I had read for a little while this aspect of the book paled a little as I began to engage with the story. Thalia Langley, known (irritatingly!) as "Tally", is staying with her sister the new Duchess of Hollingdrake and helping her to organise a house party. When Tally meets her brother-in-law's cousin, a vicar, Mr Ryder, she finds him a mixture of appealing and ordinary. Something about him attracts her, but his ineffectualness and limp handshake hardly suggest he's the hero she's been waiting for.

Mr Ryder isn't quite what he seems. Lord Larken is a master spy who has been sent to assassinate an escaped prisoner, a prisoner that it appears Tally and her cousin Pippin may have rescued from gaol. Larken is also trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of the woman who killed his father many years ago. But with Tally around things aren't going quite as planned.

Overall the pacing in this story was good, with some action, some romance, several different plot threads (some of which I imagine are followed on in the next book) and a variety of characters. There were, however, many occasions when believability suffered - I was not convinced that Tally would wear a costly dress that she found in a trunk that wasn't hers, it's tantamount to stealing. As mentioned about, the historical accuracy of dialogue isn't always very good but with books like this that's often a secondary issue. I enjoyed the story more than I thought I would initially, although I did get irritated by all the nicknames and found the subplot of Pippin and her Pirate actually a bit irritating.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2009
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VINE VOICEon 30 April 2009
Thalia Langley has always wanted a grand adventure with a rogue who sets her heart on fire. When she spies a man in the shadows at a house party, she's sure she's met her dream man. Despite the man's claims that he's a bumbling country vicar, Tally is convinced there's more to him than meets the eye.

Lord Larken is certainly no vicar but rather a spy sent to kill a traitorous pirate. But he didn't count on stumbling across the enticing Tally and the way that she makes him forget his name, his mission and his heart.

This is the fourth book in Elizabeth Boyle's Bachelor Chronicles series (after This Rake of Mine,Something About Emmaline and Love Letters from a Duke) and there was a lot of continuing and linking storylines from the previous books in this one. I would suggest that perhaps it's best to have read the previous books in the series before reading this one for everything to make sense.

Overall, I'm sorry to say that I was a little disappointed by this book as a whole. There didn't seem to be much emotion between Tally and Larken and the plot got so overly complicated and convoluted that it was hard to take it seriously. I also found that Pippin and Dash's story completely overshadowed the main love story and while I'm looking forward to their book (the next in the series, Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress) it didn't say much for this particular love story that it was so easily forgotten.

If you've read the previous books in the series and enjoyed them, I would recommend this book to you. While being very readable and mildly entertaining, it's not wildly gripping or exciting and I can only really give it three stars.
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