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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

Monday, October 21, 2013

'This will end badly but I am certain it will be interesting,'

A Man Above Reproach by Evelyn Pryce   

Oh my! The dance of two people attracted to each other in strange circumstances, that become even more curious, is quite fascinating and humorous. The sexual tension builds but   is held lightly although there were a couple of 'Hmm! I didn't see that coming,' moments. Even a mental shake of the head occasionally!
Blue, BB or Bawdy Bluestocking, Josie (Josephine Grant) plays the piano at a bordello. Elias, the Duke of Lennox, is there with friends and is struck by the quality of the pianist's performance. Attraction flares between them. Elias wants to learn more about this masked damsel. Josephine wants the safety of anonymity, not involvement. She is a spirited woman of secrets, piling up on top of each other, more so once she meets Elias.  Elias must marry (to secure the title of course). He is bored by the debutants flung in front of him, wants nothing more than to escape to his estates, and now he has met an intelligent woman, bookshop owner by day, whorehouse piano player by night.   
        
Josephine occasionally show her exasperation with Elias in interesting ways.
Look for where you find the title as a line in the book. That was an amusing insertion. 
And so the dance continues between our star crossed couple--somewhere between attack, coaxing and retreat. 
Humour is maintained throughout. There is a lot of amusing muttering used by all, from Sebastian in this review's title quote, to Josephine under her breath to Elias, 'I think not, you rake, she muttered.'
The camaraderie and humour between the main men is pleasant. It is something that is rarely shown and I appreciated it.
The storyline approaches the regency romance genre from a slightly different tack.
An altogether enjoyable read.

A NetGalley ARC

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