Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Andrea Pickens 'The Scarlet Spy'

I hate to start this review with an excuse but there you are: I put this book on PaperBackSwap and it got requested right away so I don't have it to refer to anymore. And well, I've never been very good at retaining what I read (one of the main reasons I started this blog) so I'm afraid my incisive commentary may be a bit vague in this case. Of course that hasn't ever stopped me before. :)

The last of three Merlin's Maidens, Sophia has a strangely ladylike demeanor given her poor orphaned background. (emphasis mine) She was brought to a secret spy academy as a young woman and now she's ready for action (so to speak). She is sent into the ton as an Italian contessa to investigate a secret society of bad men involved in drug trafficking and misappropriation of military supplies.

Her boss asks entertaining rake Lord Osbourne to introduce her around, she's drawn to him but being the professional spy she is, she discourages his interest in her. The couple of problematic specifics I remember: when these two finally get it on, she has a Merlin tattooed above her left breast. Why would a secret spy force all be tattooed? And when she thinks to herself that she may have to sleep with the bad guy, was I the only one who thought, "Hmm, your cover as a widow is gonna be sort of blown, oh romance heroine virgin." And let's face it, virgins always bleed in romance novels. There were a lot more incongruous character development moments that I'm blanking on right now, unfortunately. And Osbourne is often on the edge of too stupid to live. I do wonder why is this less acceptable in a hero for me than in a heroine, not that I like it either way. The whole plot denouement was problematic.

The writing isn't terrible in this book (as far as I can judge) but the characters were less than inspiring, had development problems and the plot had several detail issues. The sex was fine but sparse. I might pick up another book by this author but not until I forget about this one. :)

Historical Regency Romance 2008: 2 of 5 misplaced duke's daughters. (saw that coming, huh?)


Kate said...

Oh, a strangely ladylike demeanor...I bet she's a scullery maid's daughter, right?

In which case I must be the misplaced duke's daughter! HA!!!

Heloise said...

My dad tells the story of my (maternal) grandfather finding our long distant relatives in Ireland. They were pig farmers according to Dad, and they were afraid my grandfather was the tax man come to assess their stock. :)

Which by the transitive property means I should be queen of Lithuania by now. :)