Thursday, February 09, 2006

Review: The Mystery Kiss

Written by Judith Lansdowne, TMK is a traditional Regency, spiced with gothic overtones. Fleur Avondale, Lady Marston, is newly a widow in London to present her stepdaughter Althea to society. Problem being Fleur is what good Ton would call a 'mushroom'- that is she is a shipbuilder's daugher! Oh the horror of it all! She shall pollute them all with her inferiority & ...well, you get the picture.

Atticus Howard, the widower Earl of Hartshire, and his young heir Will are on their way into London when they come across young Althea helping Fleur while Fleur is busy puking her guts up on the side of the road. Hartshire rescues her, gives her a remedy & departs for London. Leaving mystified Avondale ladies behind him.

The storyline develops from there and involves wife abuse, plots to overthrow the British government, young love, and any number of other excitements, such as spies, butlers who aren't what they seem & abigails who really need to be taught to walk properly.

Anyhow, Atticus has a severe inferiority complex due to his height (6'5") and large ears. Fleur slowly transforms from the protective wall she built around herself as a shield from her now dead husband. Atticus helps her immensely with this. It is of course a cliche that the 'mushroom' becomes an Original with the help of the hero, but in this case Lansdowne makes a believable case for the transformation of a downtrodden woman unfurling at last upon the death of her tormentor.

Atticus and Fleur make a believable couple hoping for another chance at love and acceptance and growth. Will & his pet dormouse are an adorable sidelight. Keeper.


Anne E. said...

I need to check that out! By the way, while there were some very good sections of "Unmasked," especially those involving Charles II & various women, the relationship between the hero and the heroine eventually got on my nerves -- this was substandard VH.

Bookwormom said...

Anne E- I think I'll skip that one. I discovered I do have one VH in the TBR, but I think it'll remain there awhile.