I really did try to connect with this book, but it just didn’t work for me. Several times, I was tempted to put it down; even more often, I was tempted to skim ahead. And though I did make it to the end, it only got marginally better for me before it was over.
This is book 5 in the Drake’s Rakes series and though sometimes installments of a historical romance series stand alone well, this one did not. There is a great deal of background stuff that is obviously rooted in prior books, so if you have not read the series before, be warned.
Fiona and her twin Mairead are turned out by their grandfather after news comes that their brother Ian died a traitor. The women spent years on the street growing up and their grandfather figured they were never good enough not to tarnish the family name anyway. The thing is, that Ian isn’t really dead. When his best friend Alex comes to share the happy news, however, he finds the twins gone and he makes it his mission to find them.
You see, Alex has held warm feelings for Fiona for four years, since he brought her to her grandfather. And kissed her. Even though he was married. And she was 16 and he was 26. (This does not sound romantic to me, but maybe this was in an earlier book and played off as less disturbing at the time.) So he finds them, barely making ends meet once again and tries to get them to go back home, but they’re not interested. Fiona just got her sister settled and doesn’t want her disrupted again. It seems Mair is autistic and doesn’t handle change well. But some bad guys burn down their home and they have to turn to Alex for help.
There were so many things that didn’t work for me. The biggest, though, in the early chapters was the dialogue. Two characters (Chuffy and Lady Bea) speak in bizarre 2-3 word fragmented sentences. I barely understood what they were saying and had no idea why they couldn’t speak a complete thought. It drove me bonkers. Then there was the (seemingly) baseless affection between Alex and Fiona that made them moon for each other out of the gate. From a meeting four years ago? While she was a teen and he was married? Then there is the lack of communication they had with each other: too many secrets, which led to the inevitable misunderstandings. Plus, I thought the whole spy element was weak, maybe because this was set up in previous books. But everyone knew who the Lions were, except maybe me, but I get that they were bad guys going against the crown. And they blackmail people. They were too removed as villains, though, just nameless faceless guys with nefarious intent.
All of that, I disliked. The cardinal sin, however, is that I just didn’t care about the romance. Nothing made me root for these characters, together or apart. The sex was beyond weak. And the secondary romance was just as bad. WHY did Mairead fall in love with Chuffy? I just didn’t really like any of it.
And WTF was up with the lady assassin who smelled like oranges who killed one dude then disappeared? What was the point of that?
Not for me. But I guess if you read and liked the other books in the series, you might feel differently.
*ARC provided by Forever
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Eileen Dreyer
Release Date: November 25, 2014