Monday, 15 December 2014

Review: Lady Penelope's Christmas Charade, by Lilia Birney

From best-selling Regency romance novelist Lilia Birney comes a story about love at Christmas.

When Lady Penelope Annand's trusted servant goes missing just before Christmas, she is determined to get to the bottom of the matter. Even if that means hiring a thief-taker to track down her maid's whereabouts. But when the darkly smoldering Pierce Howe takes charge of the situation, Penelope finds herself growing more attracted to him by the second--even if she's infuriated by his high-handed manner. Penelope gave up on Christmas wishes years ago when her first husband broke her heart, but could Pierce give her a second chance at love?

Pierce Howe has made a name for himself as one of London's most reliable thief-takers, leaving behind his family's sordid past to create a life of his own. But when Viscountess Annand, known in society as The Ice Goddess, demands that he track down her wayward maid, he receives a Christmas gift he never expected--Penelope's trust. His carefully-constructed defenses begin crumbling as they embark on a Christmas charade to find Penelope's maid. And as the Ice Goddess shows that she does indeed have a melting point, the thief-taker must decide if he can risk it all and tell her the truth about his past.

I really seem to have a fixation on Regency novels at the moment, and this is the second book on this list not only to be regency, but also to have a protagonist called Penelope. This book is good, but I felt that the author had to try a little too hard to try to tie the book itself in with the title- yes, Penelope does go through a range of guises and roles to find her maid, but its still a bit of a leap from the book to the title. Other than this and some errors with timing issues and a few very minor editing issues (tying up a horse twice in three sentences), I really enjoyed Lady Penelope's Christmas Charade. The premise allows for a ridiculous storyline and implausible goings-on to be exciting and entertaining without feeling out of place. Penelope's friends made the story even richer, and I'd love to see some sort of sequel featuring some of them.
Highlights: Penelope and Pierce interviewing the Barclay employees (trying to avoid spoilers),  Clarice
Low points: A few weak points in the otherwise strong writing.

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