The topic of this month is Series Catch-Up (a book from a series you are behind on)
|I read this on my Kindle|
My Rating: 3 stars
Part of a series: Lively St. Lemeston #2
In February the topic is a book from a series you are behind on. I felt like reading Rose Lerner’s book, which was waiting for me for nearly a year in my kindle. I have made my statistics and realized that this book was considered one of the best of 2015 by the critics.
It was in my TBR pile because – It’s one of those rare gifts I accepted. I quite enjoyed the previous one (you can read my review of Sweet Disorder here, in Spanish), so I think I would have read it anyway.
This is the story of a con man, Ash Cohen, who earns his money swindling people, with the assistance of his brother, Rafe. But there comes a moment in which Rafe says that he wants an honest life. So Ash sees he has to say good bye to his younger brother. But he wants to do it in a good way. Do you want an honest life? OK, I will find you a wife, someone with money but attractive that can fall in love with you.
So Ash looks for that woman and finds - Lydia Reeve, a woman in her thirties, single, who has been looking after her younger brother, Jamie, and their late father, and helped him with the politic issues of his town, Lively St. Lemeston. On the Tory side of politics, of course.
Ash visits the house with the excuse of seeing the portraits gallery. That’s the way they meet, and he thinks she is perfect for his brother. But it looks like she’s got ideas of her own, about Ash, and therefore is not very happy when she discovers that Ash wants her to marry his brother, and not him.
Ash does also feel the attraction towards Lydia, but wants to stick to the former plan, as he is not a person who can live an honest life. Moreover, he does not want to. He prefers to wander through England, finding people to cheat.
But Lydia Reeve is in need of a husband. Her father has died, and her brother has no intention on assuming what she sees as his duty as the Tory patron of the town. He does not want to be involved in the charities that are part of that role, in order to guarantee people to vote Tory. If he is not going to do it, then Lydia would have to give her time and money. But in order to achieve the money, she’s got to be married. Yes, she prefers Ash rather than his handsome brother, but she could accept either of them.
And then, there comes a moment in which Rafe’s future is at risk, as the synopsis says, and Ash has to tell him something, a family secret that can distance one from another forever.
This is one of those character-driven books in which the main interest lies in the feelings, the emotions, the decisions the characters make. It consists mainly of dialogues, nothing happens on the outside –not until the end, at least- but on the inside of Lydia and Ash, and Rafe too. This is a risky option, because then it’s a book that you can easily put down and not feel compelled to pick it up again. It took me several days reading it. But they were interesting people and it was fascinating to see how they change little by little, very subtlety –it requires a very special talent to achieve that, as a writer.
I liked that both Ash and Lydia were mature people that talk about the things, which tried to be as frank and candid as they could. No Big Misunderstandings here. And they are quite sincere in relation to their bodies and sexual desires, too. Lydia sounded very independent and quite open for a lady of her time.
One of the things that makes this book a little different is that Ash is Jewish, which is rather uncommon in historical Romances. That let you see a little bit about the discrimination of non-Anglican people in Regency society –there’s also mention about the Catholic emancipation. It surprised me to discover that Jews in 19th century England spoke Yiddish, as it’s a Germanic/Hebrew hybrid dialect that I always relate to Eastern Europe. But if you want to know something about the Jewish community in England in those days, you would be rather disappointed, because there’s nothing about it. The historical part is underdeveloped, I think.
The idea for the plot was taken, as Rose Lerner said in a SBDA podcast, from a movie, The Brothers Bloom (2008) with Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody as the con artist brothers who have decided to take on one last job. But she ‘was very unhappy with the end of this movie’.
Although it’s part of a series, it can be read easily as a stand-alone.
This book took a DIK A review in All About Romance, was one of Miss Bates’ Best of 2015 and it was also mentioned as one of Romance Novels for Feminists' Best of 2015.
Dear Author gave this book a B-.
I have recently seen that Rose Lerner is going to be translated to French. I hope she will be translated to Spanish someday, I think Spanish readers would love her books.