Slightly Shady, by Amanda Quick (Tobias & Lavinia #1)

>> Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I've had Slightly Shady in my TBR pile for a while, but I wasn't too motivated to read it until I saw that the third book in this series by Amanda Quick, titled Late for the Wedding, got a DIK review from AAR.

Lavinia first encounters Tobias when he bursts into her antiques shop in Rome, trashing her wares, all the while claiming to be on the trail of a murderer and warning Lavinia that she is in danger. There's also talk of treason, a criminal organization known as the Blue Chamber and an evil mastermind named Azure.

Despite her skepticism, Lavinia returns with her niece, Emeline, to London, where she is caught up in more intrigue. She sets herself up as a private detective and even though stubbornness on both sides leads to an oil-and-water pairing, she soon finds herself in business with Tobias, attempting to foil a blackmail scheme, locate the culprit in a series of murders and identify the surviving member of Azure's organization.

Slightly Shady is quite far from the traditional romances AQ used to write, but I enjoyed it anyway: a B.

There's little emphasis on the Tobias - Lavinia relationship and, in fact, it isn't completely resolved (i.e. there's neither "I-Love-You"s nor a marriage proposal) by the end of the book. However, I liked what there was of it, especially the fact that Tobias wasn't overprotective of Lavinia and did treat her as a partner. Also, the conclusion felt right. A Happily-Ever-After ending is something I require from a romance novel, but the HEA need not consist of marriage. This particular ending felt right for this particular couple in this particular book, and that's what counts, IMO. And, of course, we know their story continues!

Still, Tobias and Lavinia's relationship wasn't as enjoyable as those AQ has written in her best books. The sense of intimacy I've gone on and on about when talking about her books was missing, and so were the yummy love scenes. Plus, this part of the book just wasn't given enough space to satisfy me.

The suspense subplot was intriguing and quite interesting (I especially enjoyed all the info about waxwork), but this is seldom my favourite part of books.

I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series, especially #3.

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