Wednesday, September 19, 2018

TBR Challenge: Amanda Quick - Slightly Shady

From the moment the stranger burst into her antiquities shop in Rome, Lavinia Lake knew he was nothing but trouble. He said he was in pursuit of a killer. He swore he was only trying to save her. Yet Lavinia was convinced that Mr. Tobias March was bent instead on destroying her. When the self-described spy hustled her all the way back to England, Lavinia vowed she would find a way to repay him in full. She never dreamed that Mr. March had in fact been telling the truth, that he had been hired to track down a powerful villain. And just as his investigation was heating up, he found it complicated by the most ungovernable, exasperating-and slightly shady-woman he had ever met. Lavinia most certainly never dreamed they would meet again, forced into partnership under shocking circumstances-or that their fiery disputes would spark a sizzling desire as overwhelming as the danger they faced.... 

Comment: Here we are again, on another Wednesday dedicated to the TBR Challenge. For this month, Wendy has decided to nominate the theme Historical, which is quite wide and can be adapted to the readers preferences. I'm not very picky in my historicals so I went with Amanda Quick, an author I've read and enjoyed before and whose books I still have in the pile.

This title is the first of a trilogy where we get t follow the adventures of Lavinia Lake and Tobias March. They meet in Rome when Tobias destroys some statues in Lavinia's antiques' shop while accusing her of being part of an organization that has shady business.
Since they find evidence of the shop being used as such, Lavinia accepts Tobias' decision to go back to England with her niece Emeline.
Already there, needing to find a means to survive, Lavinia decides to embark in a new profession by investigating the cases that go her way, not imagining that Tobias has the same job. Circumstances put them in the same path and they decide to momentarily join forces. But since they do have a lot in common, even their sarcastic temperament, can they be a good enough team?

As expected, this story is told in a very objective way, meaning that the characters are not prone to much inner dialogue nor hesitancy. From begin to end, they are always aware of what they do and there isn't much for the reader to see in terms of mundane things. Every scene has a purpose. This also means most things not seen need to be read between the lines and this is probably my favorite aspect of this author's writing style.
On the other hand, everything seems to follow a straight line and no deviations happen, which makes the story feel too much as a moving train, no time to wonder, to think.
If this is something that appeals to you or that you haven't seen in books, the author is talented in that regard.

For me, the story was good enough because it was what I imagined in terms of writing. As for the plot, it had its moments but I can't say it was spectacularly done. The main issue revolves around the investigations done by Lavinia and Tobias, together or on their own, while interacting with other characters. I guess that if one expects an amazing mystery, this is not it. Yes, the steps towards the discovery of a killer and of the mystery are believable but not as ingenious as one might hope. What makes this story is obviously the main character's relationship and why they are a stronger team.

The romance is a little too quick, especially for historicals contents. It does suit these people but the same thing usually happens in all the books by the author, the characters enter an intimate relationship rather soon as if that's normal and expected of the two whether it's accepted or not in the society of the time where the action is set. I guess the romantic part is after, while they adjust to the idea of being together and caring for one another. I understand the tactic but...well, it's not as likely, is it? Still, I like to know ore about them by little details and that sort of "hides" the less achieved parts of the actions they go through.
Since there are two more books, the relationship is going to develop even further there. Lavinia is not a common historical heroine but I liked her and, of course, Tobias has a great hart underneath some of his more impetuous comments or decisions.

All in all, this was a great way to spend some time, this is not heavy reading, it's perfect to relax and be entertained. I wouldn't say this is the best book ever but it did live up to its promise and expectations within its genre. I'm definitely going to read the others as this one did a good job making me curious and wanting to see more of this interesting couple as well as their closer family members.
Grade: 8/10

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