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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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

'He had simply just assumed she'd always be available when he was ready'...foolish man!

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh (The Marriage Game #2) by Ella Quinn

England 1814, Napoleon is on Elba but things are afoot.
Miss Anna Marsh returns from her London season accompanied by family friend Sebastian, Baron Rutherford. Anna has overheard Sebastian telling his friend Marcus that he intends to make a comfortable life with Anna. Anna is aghast. She's been in love with Sebastian since a small child but wants to be appreciated for herself, not merely thought of as a comfortable wife when the time came.
Sebastian's secretly an intelligence officer for the British Home Office as was Anna's dead brother Harry. Sebastian is endeavouring to find out who's in charge of Harry's smuggling ring. Unbeknownst to him, that's Anna.
Things are hotting up, rumours of French spies returning to English shores has the Home Office worried. Sebastian is dispatched back to Kent to discover what he may.
Anna is continuing to run the ring by night, and her father's estates by day.    

Sebastian has his preconceived notions of Anna turned upside down.
Taking her for granted is something he can no longer do.
Then there's Percy Blanchard, childhood acquaintance and malicious underhanded specimen who thinks to marry Anna and is already spreading rumours about her failed London season. Which of course it wasn't. Anna does punch him into the water trough when he's behaving like an ungentlemanly boor! Very satisfying!
And then there's the 'fiery touch' aspect. The merest accidental touch is like a jolt of fire, a shock (electric?) for the story's couples. Obviously this is becoming a prerequisite as the telltale tag for all relationships in the Marriage Game series.
But there's different shocks all round as characters appear, the mystery surrounding Harry's death is revealed, and further romantic interests are engaged. Relationships are not what they seem, neither are the people.
Not a bad story in between the hot and steamy parts, which do seem to occur at any given moment. 

A NetGalley ARC

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