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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Shocking Delight by Jo Beverley

A Shocking Delight by Jo Beverley
Publisher: Signet
Series: The Company of Rogues #15
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A Shocking Delight (Company of Rogues, #15)
In a single afternoon, Lucy Potter’s world turned upside down. Not only has her father announced his plans to marry again when her mother had only been dead one year, but he wants Lucy to abandon helping him on his mercantile interests, and get married to have her own children. Suffice it to say, the normally sensible and intelligent Lucy felt her place would be usurped by her new stepmother and her father’s future son, so she agrees to her aunt’s invitation to have a Season, joining company she normally detests.

David Kerslake-Somerford, is the reluctant 7th Earl of Wyvern, a title forced upon him by his predecessor (also his brother-in-law), in events detailed in The Dragon’s Bride. He is also Captain Drake, head of the local smuggling ring, and desperately in need of funds. He sets his eye on the richest unmarried heiress, Lucy Potter, and begins a dangerous flirtation with innocent Lucy, who abhors fortune hunters and smugglers….

What is interesting about this book is in its attraction-of-opposites approach between two similar people. David held the first advantage with knowing Lucy’s identity and not vice versa, so he saw that her opinions on free trade, fortune hunters, and the aristocracy, contrast his own positions. But not his person. Stripped of his responsibilities, David is an honorable, slightly reticent man who appreciates Lucy’s insights and intelligence, and saw through her façade of a simpering debutante.

Lucy is a very complex character. She claims to hate fortune hunters and wishes not to marry. Yet David’s physical allure fells her, and we see more often her passionate side overruling her rational side. She is a rather contradictory character, though, as she both wants to avoid David but also dangles her fortune after him in hopes that he’ll pursuit her. And that enigma is answered only throughout the book, as Lucy matures.

The main theme of this novel is of honesty and deception. David and Lucy both think the other is skilled at deception, yet neither truly is. They had both set out to deceive the ton, but very quickly an honest bargain of truth was established. This book is related to Jo Beverley’s Company of Rogues series, and readers who have not read the previous books (like me) may feel like being thrust into a new world, but the author does try to make this a comfortable transition.

The blurb does not do justice to this book, as the plot has a good number of twists. In true Jo Beverley fashion, I was surprised and intrigued by not only Lucy and David’s persons, thoughts and actions, but also the turns in the plot. This is a great delight to read, to be sure. 


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