Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Beguiling the Beauty

The title: Beguiling the Beauty
The author: Sherry Thomas
Publication:  Berkley, 2012
Got it from: La library

Sherry Thomas is a relatively new author on the scene, but she's been steamrolling her way to the romance hall of fame, being compared to rising superstar Courtney Milan.  When I read the description for this book, I was intrigued to try it out.  Christian, the Duke of Lexington, has been haunted for ten years by the memory of a beautiful woman he once saw.  He has since become a scientist, interested in paleontology and evolutionary theory (it is 1898, so Darwin's theories weren't anywhere near universally accepted).  One fortuitous night, the widow Venetia Easterbrook attends one of his lectures and gets to hear Christian railing against the dangers of a beauty he believes has driven her two husbands to an early grave.  Venetia quickly realizes he is talking about her, and is infuriated - Christian has gotten his "information" from her vicious (now dead) husband.  What she doesn't realize is that she's been haunting Christian's dream for years and he's bitter about being so susceptible to her charms.  Venetia hatches a scheme to get back at Christian by disguising herself as a German countess, seducing him and breaking his heart.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book at first.  For the first three chapters, a lot of characters were dropped in my lap and I was like, "Wha?  -wha? -wha?"  But then Christian and Venetia got on the transatlantic ship back to England, and things picked up.  The author of course was introducing the other characters to set up the romances for the whole trilogy.  And darn her, she intrigued me to want to read the other two.  Venetia's brother and his estranged wife who is in love with him (does he return her love?) and her sister, who is in love with a married man but pined after by her childhood friend.  Normally those sorts of romances don't interest me but somehow she made me want to read them.  But back to this story - I think Sherry Thomas has some serious writing skills, and I liked the way she kept the suspense going right up until  the bitter end, with no long-winded happily-ever-after (I guess we get to see that in the sequels).  I liked that I didn't find Venetia annoying even though she's one of those beauties who have men falling all over themselves, and I like that both characters are obsessed with fossils.  A most enjoyable read.

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