Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: hot
Sydney Dovedale: (1) The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine, (2) The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne
Romance RBC 2014: A book with a heroine in disguise
In order to finance her step-father’s expensive tastes and keep the creditors at bay, Miss Ellie Vyne is prone to dressing up as the Count de Bonneville and conning London’s Ton of their money and most precious jewels. When she lifts a diamond necklace off the deplorable Miss Ophelia Southwold, what Ellie doesn’t realise is that what she has in her possession is the Hartley Diamonds, belonging to her childhood nemesis, James Hartley. James tracks down the ‘Count’ to a rowdy inn, only to walk in on a nearly naked Ellie with the diamonds and the count nowhere to be found …
James decides that the only way that he can recover the diamonds is to become Ellie’s shadow – literally. Ellie, for her part, won’t budge on the subject of the Count and is most put out that the family feud between the Hartleys and Vynes is being sorely tested. James’ plan for extricating the information from Ellie? Why, seducing her, of course.
There were snatches of good parts in this book, but equally other parts that just didn’t read too well in my opinion. Ellie is deliberately scandalous in order to shock her family and other members of society, which never fails to get my approval. I wasn’t convinced by her need to resort to thievery and the other related skills that she’s needed to acquire in order to take on this persona, and I would definitely have liked to actually see her in action.
My favourite element was the promise that two pairs of secondary characters held for future books. Lady Mercy Danforthe is ten years old and believes herself to be in love with James after he saved her life when her horse bolted off. Her older brother is her sole guardian and more interested in drinking and ladies than the welfare of his little sister, leading to Mercy becoming a somewhat spoilt and demanding young lady. When she meets the rough-edged Rafe in Ellie’s hometown of Sydney Dovedale, she’s immediately put off by his lack of refined upbringing, as well as the fact that he’s a boy. It’s going to be a wonderful pairing. Secondly, there’s Molly Robbins, the youngest of thirteen (?) children who all need to go out and work to bring back money for the family. She’s disdainful of the way that Carver Danforthe lives his life, but has just been appointed Mercy’s new maid, and so she’s going to have to get used to it.
Image courtesy of Book Depository