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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Sunday, October 27, 2013

fabulously mysterious...with delightfully droll interludes!

What a Gentleman Desires (The Redgraves #3) by Kasey Michaels

A return to Regency England with the threat of a Bonaparte inspired invasion all too real!
A family's investigation into its duplicitous, treasonous and debauched past, relating to an organization called the Society. Leading the investigation here is Valentine Redgrave, youngest brother of the Earl of Saltwood. Michaels describes him as 'outwardly dangerous as a dandelion.' Delicious! 
Enter Miss Daisy Marchant, 'governess-on-a-mission.' The two come into contact at a house party held by Lord Charles Mailer, debauched martinet, cad, and possible member of The Society. Daisy wonders, 'Was Valentine a badly needed ally, or an exceedingly clever foe?' Valentine mistakenly believes Daisy is a government spy sent by Downing Street. He is not amused. Mystery and darkness surrounds The Society. It's membership, it's purpose, it's monthly meetings. Young women are disappearing, wives have died in odd circumstance. All grist for the mill. 
As some mysteries are resolved others wait like patient serpents waiting to take their place. 
Some of the characters have a definite touch of Heyerism, but with descriptive sexual encounters. Valentine's grandmother, Trixie, keeps reminding me somewhat of the older Duchess of Avon. Daisy is definitely akin to one of Heyer's steadfast heroines. 
I loved the repartee between the Valentine, Daisy and Piffkin, Valentine's valet. I must confess that when I first began reading this I had to leave the story after just a few pages. 
It seemed too confusing at the beginning with the hierarchy of depraved ancestors who were members of a secret, diabolical, hellfire club that continues still--minus the Redgraves. . Somehow I lost my way. I am unsure as to whether it was me or the start of the novel. 
 Fortunately for me, I decided to return and I'm glad I did! Guess what? This time the story all hung together so much more precisely and delightfully than I anticipated that I am now a convert. I am addicted to the family's story and am rushing off to savour the rest in the series. 

 A NetGalley ARC

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