1) Read a classic romance.
2) Read a book with an animal on its cover.
3) Urban Fantasy with a strong romance line and strong, kick-ass heroine.
4) Editors and Writers Month: Read a book where a character is in the writing field (author, writer, journalist, publisher, editor, etc)
5) Pirate day: Read a book that involves Pirates or other sea-faring characters, like Vikings, Ship Captains, etc..
6)Read a Book Day: Read a book that you have been meaning to read or a book that has been neglected in a series or a challenge or a random book that caught your fancy when you were browsing. <-- this is the challenge * * *
Blake Montague has been to war, has come home because of an injury ... and now wants to go back. He's close to cracking the French code which would turn the tides in England's favor. But, first, he must purchase his colors again.
Problem: His family refuses to give him the money.
In Blake's own offbeat way, he's found a solution: marry money.
Problem: While Blake is fairly well-known as a genius, he's even better known for being irascible unpredictable and slightly prone to angry outbursts. What woman would have him? What society mama would want their daughter married to Blake Montague?
Enter Jocelyn Byrd-Carrington. Who recently inherited an annuity from her father's estate which ensures that she lives comfortably for the rest of her days. But she also has to take care of her eccentric/reclusive mother and younger brother -- and she also has to recover all of her brothers' pet birds, which their older stepbrother sold.
Blake and Jocelyn meet because of one such bird: Percy, the foul-mouthed parrot who is now owned by the Duke of Fortham. A toe is shot. A bird gets "stolen." And Blake and Jocelyn find themselves in a compromising situation.
But it is also a situation that presents an opportunity for the two of them: Blake needs Jocelyn's money and Jocelyn needs Carrington House (her family's house), which Blake's father has won in a game of cards and is now giving to Blake.
Our clever hero and heroine arrange a convenient marriage for themselves -- and so their misadventure begins.
While I was reading this, what kept going through my mind is that these characters don't fit the usual mold.
Blake is intellectual and scholarly but he never finished university (he was booted out) and he doesn't mind getting into a brawl or two. He's not quiet or retiring and has a take-charge attitude.
Jocelyn is a social butterfly -- but she doesn't actually like to flit and flutter about (she sees it as a means to an end) -- and would love to make a stable home for her eccentric mother and younger brother. She longs to put roots down somewhere.
I didn't think I would enjoy this story because it starts out a bit too silly for my taste. The banter is playful but it got out of hand and actually turned me off the first time I read it.
But I recently read a review of this book that made me change my perspective and my approach to reading it -- and I managed to finish it the second time around.
What's interesting is that, while I was
I started enjoying the story at Chapter 23, when Blake and Jocelyn have moved past the foolishness of their personal pursuits and start working together as a unit. Jocelyn dazzles in the society, ensuring that Blake (and his interests) are in the ears of the right people.
"Your future is now mine," she reminded him, and herself. "I have a vested interest in keeping you from becoming cannon fodder. If it is Wellesley's staff you crave, these people have the prince's ear and can place you there with merely a word."
"I know people, all sorts of people, influential and otherwise. That is my area of expertise." ... "Do not disdain my knowledge, and I will respect yours, whatever it might be. I'm sure there is more to your prowess than fighting drunken duels."
- p. 223
And Blake shows a kinder side of himself when he openly embraces Jocelyn's odd family.
I've read and love Patricia Rice's Magic series (Malcolm-Ives) and I still think it's one of the best completed series that I've read. Ultimately, what saves this book for me is that it has heart. (And humor, though a bit too much, IMHO) -- I love how Jocelyn finally gets what she has always wanted above all: love and a family.
This is the second book in Patricia Rice's The Rebellious Sons series. To find out more about Patricia Rice and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.