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Like the Curate's Egg - Good in Parts
on 11 February 2011
I had high hopes of this novel, based on the other reviews I have read of it, and the blurb on the jacket. Was I disappointed, well yes and no. The author has clearly done a lot of historical research and much of it shows - the atmosphere is evocative of London in the Regency period. But there do seem to be some glaring anachronisms. Would a Regency Lord have sworn using the word "F--k"? I will stand corrected but find it very unlikely. Similarly I am not convinced he would have said "screwing around" either. Using modern dialogue would have worked if it had all been modern but it was also littered with contemporary Regency slang and the two forms sit uneasily next to each other. Tom, the Cockney pickpocket befriended by Lord Devlin, talks in a strangulated cockney part of the time, and regular english the rest. When he decides to attach himself to Lord Devlin, he then makes a short speech explaining as his reason how he admires and values honour and honesty as taught him by his mother, deported as a criminal. oh Yeah. Similarly the heroine Kat Boelyn is supposed to be Irish with Irish sympathies. The only problem with this is that Boelyn is an English surname of French origins and not Irish at all.
The plot races along very fast and there are a lot of well written actions scenes, probably the best part of the book, as the hero flees from the Bow Street Runners and hides in London's underworld while trying to clear his name. This is all very readable, but to move the story along takes some clunky plotting by the author. There are several dialogues set pieces where various characters turn out to be in possession of essential facts for rather contrived reasons and then reveal these to the the hero for no very good reason. This makes the plot development rather contrived. The sex scenes are well written enough but frankly redundant. So a good background marred by the author's indecision on whether to use modern or contemporary dialogue and a good racy plot marred by some clunky plotting. One for the plane journey.