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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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

...more than a dash of impudence!

The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides #1) by Valerie Bowman       

I really liked the character of Lucy, lady Lucy Upton that is.  She is feisty, passionate and a true friend, and at heart a victim of rejection by her parents. Her guilt at surviving her brother and therefore having the family fortunes pass to another due to the inheritance laws cuts her deeply.
In trying to be a son she from childhood did the unexpected and embarrassed her parents. Yet all she wanted was their approval.
Her loyalty and determination to rescue her shy friend Cassandra from the unwanted attention of the Duke of Claringdon is laudable. Unfortunately neither young woman know that Lord Derek Hunt had made a promise to his dying friend to marry Cassandra. And Hunt is an honourable man. Well that is until the sparks ignited between himself and Lucy.
The dance between these two is hilarious as they try to deny their mutual attraction, are caught in its web, withdraw, only to be caught again.     
Yet, Hunt is determined to honour his promise.     
Cassandra, the dreamer, in love with the unattainable, drifting in a dream of unrequited love is actually stronger than Lucy in my opinion. 
The last friend in this trio, the blue stocking Jane is a mystery. One does wonder what she's up to in the background. Certainly the friendship between the three young women is interesting.
Lucy's plans for Cassandra to repel Hunt are tinged with hilarity. However, as she herself a falls deeper in love with Hunt, her old pains of abandonment, surface. Certainly Lucy's pain is tangible and we like and admire her the more for it.
I loved the scene where she is represented to the Queen, the first occasion having been an unmitigated disaster.
An amusing and bewitching read. I smiled and murmered in sympathy with Lucy all the way through, occasionally wanting to shake Cassandra and awaken her to the now.

A NetGalley ARC

Monday, April 28, 2014

...innocents rushes in!

Never Entice an Earl (One Scandalous Season #2) by Lily Dalton  

Foolish innocent brave girl! How could she know that her eager effort to save her friend would end with her being half naked on the stage of a brothel just as the police raided it.
I must admit I really liked Lady Daphne Bevington. Her character was loyal and naive. That naivety was totally dangerous, to her! Yet her loyalty to her friend and lady's maid Kate Fickett, means that Daphne is willing to cut across the class boundaries with a disingenuous disregard for her own safety and reputation. One could view her action of taking Kate's place and descending into such a lewd place of entertainment as an action taken due to her  protected environment, or of a mistaken sense of her abilities to deal with problems. I think there's a bit of both. Really Daphne's inability to recognize the truth of social conditions outside her class, leads her into trouble with a capital 'T'.  Daphne just did not conceive that she would be a target as a young attractive female in a male dominated sleazy establishment that catered to expensive and questionable sexual habits. Her experience of the life challenges faced by the those in the lower social echelons, in the underbelly of London where life is cheap, was nil. Of course, that capital 'T' Trouble did follow her, in spades!   
Kate is also being pursued by the Marquess of Rackmorton, a lord of less than stellar reputation, a degenerate rakehell. He is looking to take an innocent bride and Kate has caught his fancy.
Meanwhile Lord Cormack Northmore is searching for the individual who destroyed his sister.
In that search Cormack and Daphne's paths cross. Daphne, keen to preserve her reputation which is teetering on the edge of tatters should her exploits be discovered, hides her true identity. Naturally, misunderstandings add to the twists and turns thrown across the path of true love, bringing varying satisfying degrees of tension to the storyline. All in all, a very enjoyable read.

A NetGalley ARC

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

...game of Queens!

Heaven's Queen (Paradox #3) by Rachel Bach  

I really enjoyed this series. I loved the way Deviana Morris always sought options that did not neccesitate using others as tools. The evolution of Maat as a live and  in person figure, the plague of the phantoms and the mysteries of plasmex, even the involvement of Mabel and Commander Brian Caldswell were resolved at various levels. The lead up to saving the universe is honed with lots of scary action, threats of demise, fear for loved ones, alien mind games, bared honesty, and a closer look at the follow the rules 'eyes', those human symbionts, who are as it ensues, are hampered by their own rules and boundaries, their very real fears, and their loyalty without question expectations of each other.    
Along the way we renew acquaintances with a few old friends, and old enemies.
The fight against the phantoms reaches new heights. Maat, who wants freedom, even if that freedom is death, is constrained in new ways, imprisoned in the Dark Star Station at the urging of the Lelgis. Standing against the Lelgis, freeing Maat and communicating with the phantoms are all part and parcel of Devi's personal mission.
I certainly don't begrudge Devi a little love in her otherwise hectic 'take them down' for the glory of King and Country sort of life. Particularly as that love embodies the strength of purpose and wilfulness that is Devi, and the haunted ambiguity and strength that is Rupert.
I actually wonder as to whether Rupert Charkov and Devi can be satisfied with the life they've chosen in the end, but who knows?
In the end who can and can't see the phantoms remains moot, but I'm betting more than let on.
I'm still working through the levels of significance with the title Heaven's Queen,  as 'Queens' feature as outright autocratic leaders in more than one species. There are the Lelgis Queens, then Maat is the Queen who holds the phantoms in checkmate, and Devi gives the Lelgis back as good as they give, an equal in the game of queens. I must say that the question of Queens leaves the idea of Kings begging. For me there are mysteries attending the ending. I'm hoping some of my questions will be answered in a future novel.
Heaven's Queens is all that I had hoped for.

A NetGalley ARC

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

...love soars!

The Highland Henchman (Highland Force #2) by Amy Jarecki 

Ah, Bran! I remember him when he was just a lad, the cabin boy who was with Laird Calum MacLeod when he captured the English ship with Lady Anne on board.
Lady Anne made a sling for his injured arm. Then Bran had 'stood on gawky legs in a moth-eaten kilt, his face caked with dirt and sea-salt.' With Lady Anne he learnt to read, trained as a falconer with the eaglet Swan, and has become an important part of Calum's fighting forces.
It's now 1658 and this is Bran's story. A story that includes Enya Ross, the youngest daughter of Sir Ross, a lowlander Baron. Some of the Highland clans have agreed to join forces with Ross. Together they plan to free Mary, Queen of Scots and help her regain her rightful place. Ross, an atrocious man would sacrifice his daughter Enya on the altar of ambition and eventually will incarcerate her in a nunnery on Iona. A wicked place that represents cold religious judgement and vindication at its worst.
Bran is a man grown, a strapping man, a man who will protect, a man deserving of his knighthood, a perfect, loyal highland henchman!
Bran carries on his shoulder a gorgeous golden eagle, Griffon. He carries the office of henchman and knight to Calum proudly and his responsibilities willingly. He also carries a fierce and true love for Enya. 
Their story of love, is of one born free and wild, honed in battle, purged and tested by cruelty and redeemed by the strength and depth of feeling for each other. A love sworn true.

A NetGalley ARC

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

...and the games continue!

Desiring Lady Caro (The Marriage Game #4) by Ella Quinn  

This time it's Lady Caroline Martindale and the rake Huntley who fall into true love.
Gervaise, Earl of Huntley, heir to the Marquis of Huntingdon, is a man of infinite patience and strength once having decided that it is Caroline whom he wants as his Countess.
This Marriage Game begins with a marriage of convenience that slowly grows to something more, defying Caro's tragic past. The ravishment and rape of young women by scoundrels is a danger that one doesn't think about. I suspect us readers have been anaesthetized by Jane Austen. This is Caroline's darkest secret and deepest nightmare. A nightmare she constantly relives with fear and loathing.
Fleeing Vemice and the unwanted attentions of the deranged Marchese di Venier,
Caroline and Huntley are thrown together by Huntley's aunt and Caro's godmother, Lady Horatia Laughton in an effort to protect Caroline. Lady Horatia will leave Venice duplicately and meet them in Nancy, France.  Nearly caught travelling together by gossips, Huntley fortuitously runs into his cousin, the Reverend Bishop Everard Wingate who marries Caroline and Huntley in a trice. Attracted to Caro, Huntley initially found himself, wondering what it was that drew him. Perhaps it was the vulnerability he spied beneath the prickly exterior? Huntley finds himself falling in love with her. He learns her secret. Wooing her is like trying to tame a startled fawn. It takes weeks with Huntley doing all that he can, including using his greatest weapon, his ability to discover all sorts of chocolate treats, to Caroline's unending delight. She, like me is totally enamoured by all things 'chocolat.'
Mind you as Huntley seduces her with careful food delights, I too am well on the way to swooning from the delicacies he sets before the fair and timid Caroline.
I am much taken by the couple's servants, Huntley's valet Maufe, and Caro's once nursemaid and now dresser, Nugent. Both are strong secondary characters and play their parts to perfection in the growing trust and love that develops between Caro and Huntley, as long time retainers often do. 
A torrid race through Italy over the alps en route to Nancy via Austria pursued by the wicked Marchese makes for a different turn of events. I must admit, I know that Caroline has been abused and suffers and I appreciate Gervaise's gentle wooing, his bringing her back from horror to wonder at intimacy. For me however, the strength of Lady Horatia and her finding love in an unexpected place actually entranced me, and nearly eclipsed the romance between Caroline and Gervaise. I did enjoy Horatia and Captain John's repartee and interaction. Theirs is a whirlwind romance, witty and amusing. I found it very satisfying that this wonderful widow found the love and companionship she deserves.

A NetGalley ARC

A Libertine's descent...

A Promise of More: The Disgraced Lords Series #2: A Loveswept Historical Romance 
by Bronwen Evans  

So, Lord Sebastian Hawkstone, Marquis of Coldhurst, is a member of the Libertine Scholars' clique/ club. Libertine is right! The Oxford dictionary assigns further synonyms. A libertine in the sense used here (yes, there are other meanings!) is 'a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained, especially a dissolute man; a profligate; a rake.'Likewise descriptions were lecherous, licentious, lewd, really the list goes on...
Seconds into reading, and in keeping with said libertine behaviour, I'm already into a highly descriptive encounter between Sebastian and a courtesan Clarice that is more mechanics than intimacy. Really, I'm feeling quite jaded by the time I've read the second page. Just how many more bouncing body parts are going to be trotted out I wonder?
The crux of the matter is that this sexual encounter serves as the basis for the ongoing storyline. A duel ensues between Sebastian and a young man, one Douglas Hennessey, the Baron of Larkwell, after Doogie bursts in upon the scene.  The courtesan is Doogie's mistress.  Unfortunately, Sebastian kills him and has to flee the country. 
The plot thickens and things are turned on their head. Three plus months later we have Sebastian pardoned and coming back to England only to be confronted at the docks by the sister of the young Baron he'd killed. Sebastian agrees to marry Beatrice Hennnessey more or less as penance for his deed and because it was about time he turned respectable (for his sister's sakes), married and went for an heir and spare. He saw it as a marriage of convenience. I really liked Beatrice. She's much maligned by the mean pettiness of the 'ton'. She has character and resolve. As the story went on, I came to like Sebastian who is not quite the utter cad I first thought. Though he certainly has a problem with emotional intimacy and 'love.'
Anyway misunderstandings, murders, attacks, and potential deaths litter the path of Sebastian as we view this particular Scholar's descent into the folly, or madness, of true love. 
Meanwhile it seems the other Libertine Scholars are also under attack. But these are other stories.
Those jouncing body parts continue to be examined albeit in the marital bed.
I thought the storyline had real merit but I don't know that it needed such frequent and  intimate forays into the bedroom bliss of our couple. I have however come to appreciate that the 'Loveswept' part of the title is really code for the frequent mad passionate moments described in detail. These seem to have a similar purpose to that of the use of the word 'and' in a sentence. The sexual encounters link the various plots and counterplots in the story with sweeping abandonment.

A NetGalley ARC

Saturday, April 12, 2014

...all my favourite characters!

Cauldron of Ghosts (Honor Harrington - Crown of Slaves) by David Weber and Eric Flint

Once more Mesa and the doings of the Alignment are the core targets. All the usual suspects are in play with a few new characters added.   

The Alignment is cleaning house and exiting Mesa to regroup somewhere else after the latest breach of their facilities. That last episode had ended in complete havoc and destruction, a nuclear detonation being blamed on Zilwicki and Cachet. Operation Houdini is underway with highly placed minions disappearing under the cloud of mass killings, again being attributed to terrorists from Torch. Modelled on an onion the layers of the Alignment are stripped back, but the core is yet to be breached. Peeling the onion has become the task of  Victor Cachet, Anton Zilwicki and Thandi Palane. These three are right in the thick of the action. And what action it is!
I really enjoy the stories where these three are central. The references to Victor and his amazingly intuitive schemes are amusing. People find themselves 'joining [the] informal club, 
the one called, Hey-look-Victor's-sucking-everybody-into-his-schemes-like-a-black-hole-again!' The places Victor takes us are as always ingenious.
Sure my eyes crossed several times with the acronyms for weapons and organizations but if you barrel on through those the story is fantastic. As are the pearls of reflection that litter our heroes' paths. The action ended on an unexpected cliffhanger. I was just immersed up to my eyeballs. Now my eyeballs have to settle down to await the next chapter! 

A NetGalley ARC

...a tortured tangle

The Scandalous Love of a Duke (Marlow Intrigues #3) by Jane Lark  

John Harding is the Duke of Pembroke. Traumatized by his upbringing under his grandfather's gimlet gaze, John knows only harshness, undergirded by a deep sense of abandonment. Poor John, a product of his upbringing! Yet I cannot like him as he toys with Katherine. Katherine who is unloved, a Cinderella figure in the household into which she has been adopted.  Despite that or because of that she gives all to her childhood hero, John.   
Oh, she tries to hold back but she is so tempted. This is where, to me, John falls into selfish behaviour. He uses Katherine as an escape. As he admits, it was ridiculous hiding out and escaping with his oldest friend. She is not a courtesan and yet he is treating her as one.
But then John has had to fight from turning into a carbon copy of his grandfather - cold and distant. I thought his seduction of Katherine indeed showed him as just that. In this he is less than honourable, although Katherine, with stars in her eyes, is willing. Katherine wants to rescue him. In that rescue, she becomes the victim.
Katherine is illegitimate. Her mother committed suicide. Is Katherine to tread the same path?  There are hints of deeper mysteries at work here. Katherine's past, John's mother, and another nasty character, Wareham the steward.
The story revolves around John finding the space to love and be loved, and about forgiveness and pride, and Katherine's role in this. I can accept that John is damaged, I can see that Katherine is a Cinderella figure, but John does try my patience. He's just so very brooding and self centred. And yes, I know the tangled trap he is placed in. Nurture versus nature etcetera, but it just takes such a jolly long time for John's nature to escape the devastating trammels of his nurturing. In the end I'm left feeling that both characters are a tad flat. Some of the minor characters such as Katherine's brother and John's stepfather exhibit a decided strength of purpose that I applauded.

A NetGalley ARC

...Wednesday is indeed waiting!

Waiting for Wednesday: A Frieda Klein Mystery (Frieda Klein) by Nicci French

A murdered woman, missing girls, a vengeful psychiatrist, lost young people, disillusioned cops. Packed to the rafters with bizarre coincidences that lead to difficult situations upon difficult situations. Throughout is the sub plot question: Who really is this person named Frieda? She's hard to grasp hold of, undeterred by obstacles, a juxtaposition of knowing and intuition, a shadow that flits in and out of the action, enfolding it, following it, a veritable warren of wisdom and chaos.
I love the title. I was up to where Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Karlsson and Detective Constable Yvette Long went to interview the lover of the murdered woman when I really focused on the title. Yes, Wednesday I thought! We're all waiting for Wednesday, the happenings of Wednesday, the significance of Wednesday. Us readers, the detectives on the case, the lovers, the family, all of us, either were, or are, waiting in anticipation, in dread, in secret. All waiting!   
Then there's ex detective Jim Fearby looking for patterns. Patterns on the disappearance of young women. Marking his maps and patiently, slowly and steadily closing in on the epicentre of events. Meanwhile Sandy is sending desperate emails to Frieda. She's off his grid pursuing threads of what? Even she doesn't know. And the children and young people revolving around the situation, all are affected and are at various stages of loss and despair.
Frieda wanders through all this seemingly aimlessly, but put together her intuitive ability to follow threads, and the multi-layered circumstances of people's lives intertwining in a six degrees of separation fashion, and the storyline pulls you into the same off key rabbit hole of action that Frieda disappears into.
And throughout all this somewhere lurks the spectre of Dean Reeve, 'her stalker and her quarry', who is maybe not so dead.
As Frieda later reflects, there's 'so much wreckage, so much damage she had left trailing behind her.'
I am newly come to the person of Frieda but have enjoyed every tortured minute of her involvements and her unfolding story.

A NetGalley ARC

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vintages and Murder! A great combination.

Bordeaux: The Bitter Finish: A Vengeance in the Vineyard Mystery (Vengeance in the Vineyard Series) by Janet Hubbard 

Travelling from New York to Bordeaux as a bodyguard for the famous wine critic and friend of her mother's Ellen Jordan, Max Maguire is not expecting her charge to be dead before the trip has barely started. The searing question, apart from the guilt Max feels is, did Ellen die of asphyxiation or was she murdered?  
Max has a french mother. Her father is a New York detective. Max is also a detective, although she's supposed to be chilling out whilst the controversy over her latest antics, caught on video, die down.
France has further problems for Max. 
There's the fact that her mother and consequently Max have been estranged from their French relations for many years. Only now is that fence being mended. Max does make contact with her grandmother, but her uncle, the Minister of Justice Philippe Douvier, is somewhat unnerved by this contact.
Maybe more tellingly, there's the renewal of her acquaintance with the investigating magistrate, Olivier Chaumont, whom she just happened to have an affair with last time she was in Bordeaux.
So we have a murder and wines that are being re bottled and passed off as highly expensive vintages by an international counterfeiting ring and a stalled love affair. The counterfeiting problem is exacerbated by the fact that of none of the high flying vintners wants to admit this is occurring as this could negatively affect the wine sales of the region.
The descriptions of the various wines, their bouquet and taste, are intriguing.
There are interesting sidebars where Hubbard contrasts the traditional family life and approaches to life in general of the French over and against the more brash Americans.
A story well played!

A NetGalley ARC

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Another extraordinary novel from Edun!

Blades Of Magic: Crown Service #1 by Terah Edun 

Once more a mesmerizing novel from the very talented Terah Edun. The moments of surprise, the twists and turns as the story of Sara Fairchild unfolds held my complete attention. 
Edun now gives us the back story to the Initiate Wars that 'divided Algardis society.'
Sara Fairchild is the daughter of a disgraced and executed Commander and Battle Mage of the empress's armies accused of desertion. Sara is herself a Battle Mage. Trained from her early years by her father, Sara's skills are formidable.  
To me this series holds is a touch of Tamora Pierce's writings with a waft of early Mercedes Lackey. As both are some of my all time favourite authors this is high accolade from me. 
I certainly revel in the creation of the characters and situations that Edun reveals to us. Particularly with the character of Sara, a stubborn, feisty and achingly lonely person whose emotional hardships would have crushed a lesser person. She's capable of great destruction and great loyalty. Her very real fear is turning from a Battle Mage into a berserker. (This downward spiral and inward battle that battle mages face, Sarah's need to find out how to conquer this nemesis, is an intriguing aspect etched into Sarah's character and into our hopes for her).
Her new friend Ezekiel is a seemingly bumbling curator who is helping her find out the truth surrounding her father's death and the reasons for his actions. There seems more to Ezekiel than we currently perceive. We are given hints and I wonder where these will take his character. As Sarah keeps reiterating, her father was the most honourable person she knew and his actions make no sense to her. Their journey to discover the truth leads them to join a mercenary company, onto the battlefield and into deception. 
An excellent beginning to the series! Hopefully the next in the series is not too faraway!

I received a review copy from the author. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A pleasing read!

The Husband Campaign (The Master Matchmakers #3) by Regina Scott   

I found John a fascinating character if somewhat underdeveloped.
We come to know him through his horses and his treatment of them rather than through himself. In fact his knowledge of horse, his commitment to them is awesome.
If only he could transfer that knowing to his marital self. I felt very impatient with him in his behaviour towards Amelia.
We do see that he is an honourable man, albeit damaged and lacking self confidence in relationships. I know, he was forced into marrying Amelia. Maybe he should have left her in the barn in the first place, but he was acting out of concern and with integrity.  And let's not forget the era.
Amelia is rather a lovely person who has been disappointed constantly by family and then by John.
She works unerringly to overcome John's coolness towards her. I hate that she has to keep proving herself time and again.  
All the aspects are here. Brooding misunderstood hero, whimsical heroic wife, capricious sister-in-law, a dastardly villain, an unloving father.
I loved the staff at their house. How they supported the pair of them in small ways.
Yes, it had it all, including the biblical quotes that directed our main characters actions and helped us readers to reflect on their actions over against the biblical injunctions. Amelia is certainly forbearing and both she and to some extent John do acknowledge their source of spiritual sustenance and work to have that direct their lives. 
To me, some of the scriptural verses seemed forced into the story. Amelia's behaviour and reactions implicitly expressed her faith perspective. Indeed the description of John's room with it's well worn bible is a fine example of such implicitness. Moments such as these are strong statements by themselves that need no further embellishment.
I truly felt for Amelia's predicament and her attempts to show John that she is a worthy wife, a pearl to be treasured, a jewel. Indeed in a latter scene he realizes this. That scene tenderly closes the journey that has been theirs thus far. The door for a more fulfilling life together has opened.

A NetGalley ARC

Loving the series!

Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom (Renegade Royal) by Vanessa Kelly 

I must confess that I love all the titles so far produced in this series. The golden thread that links them all together is that in each one, an illegitimate son of one of the Royal Princes (Regency period), confronts the hardships of his birth, discovers true love and enters the ranks of society.
Of course for each son the way is strewn with brambles and thorns, if not shards of glass.
This episode is no less riveting with all the necessities for a sparkling and often tense read.
We have the Extremely Bad boy, Griffin Steele, with a tender heart and a rock hard exterior that keeps the world at bay. Owner of a brothel he's about to dispose of, Griffin's world is disrupted when a baby is left on the doorstep with a note asking him to protect the infant from grave danger. 
Justine Brightmore is the lovely heroine, who's badly put upon, selfless, and independent.
She is goddaughter to Sir Dominic Hunter who has offices in Whitehall and is highly placed in England's Intelligence Service. Dominic asks her to assist with the care of baby Stephen whilst the mystery surrounding him is investigated. Griffin is puzzled as to why Dominic would bring Justine into a situation fraught with perils not only to her reputation but her safety, if as he suspects, the mystery surrounding the baby is accurate.
Of course the meeting of the two, Justine and Griffin devolves into a fiery battle. A battle between the brothel lord and the bluestocking. A situation fraught with tension, attraction and amusement.
Through various surprising circumstance they end up in a marriage of convenience!
Dominic, who knew Griffin's mother, is not the only one to be surprised by events as they unravel. And really, given all his conniving ,it's about time Domonic's feathers were ruffled!

A NetGalley ARC

Sparklingly wit!

Unlacing Lady Thea by Louise Allen

So I was ready to give Lady Thea 5 stars before I'd even finished the first chapter. The rest of the novel did not disappoint!
I am captivated by Allen's dialogue.  Her dry humour leavens the story. Smart and amusing lines such as when Rhys, in his cups, scolds the ginger tomcat for ungentlemanly behaviour is just one example. Rhys Denham, the third Earl of Palgrave is a rake, though capable of redemption. He has decided that it's time to do his duty and marry, but first he will do the Grand Tour he missed out on due to the war years. After all, as he solemnly confides to his cat, he is twenty-eight and will appreciate it more.
Lady Althea Curtiss, daughter of the Earl of Wellingstone, has known Rhys forever and appears at his bachelor household dressed as a boy. Rhys is five sheets to the wind, and 'thoroughly foxed not drunk' he reassures the cat. Thea is entrancing, winsome and a madcap! She is fleeing an unwanted marriage and wants to travel to the continent wIth Rhys and onto Venice to find their mutual Godmother, in order to gain control of her inheritance. The 'foxed' Rhys agrees. Of course their journey is littered with distractions caused by Althea's sense of adventure and wish to sample something of life, all assisted by a variety of humorous misunderstandings.
The thing about being an author is that you can locate your characters anywhere you want to. So Paris and then onto Venice! What a treat for us readers!
The dance between Thea and Rhys is highly amusing, each trying to ignore the pull of attraction they feel. As is their abortive attempts to not imagine each other unclothed.
Later, imagination became unnecessary. The witty interactions between Rhys and Thea remind me somewhat of some Heyer's writing with overtones of the ugly duckling.
As the swan emerges we applaud!

A NetGalley ARC