Late For The Wedding, by Amanda Quick (Tobias & Lavinia # 3)

>> Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Late For The Wedding is the third in the Amanda Quick trilogy starring Tobias March and Lavinia Lake. It comes right after Slightly Shady and Don't Look Back.

An invitation to a country house party at Beaumont Castle provides a perfect solution to Tobias and Lavinia's most exasperating challenge: how to escape the chaos of London for a remote, relaxing--and above all romantic--retreat from prying eyes and wagging tongues. But the lovers' plans are foiled when their first cozy interlude of the weekend is disrupted by the appearance of a stunning woman from Tobias's past. Aspasia Gray's beauty is as haunting as her connection to Tobias. Her long-deceased fiancé was a friend of his--in addition to being an eccentric assassin. The mysterious nature of the bond between Tobias and Aspasia makes Lavinia more than a little uncomfortable. Especially as her first encounter with Aspasia occurs when she finds her in Tobias's bedchamber...

It seems Aspasia is seeking protection--and solace--after receiving an ominous message that eerily recalls the past. Suddenly the obstacles standing betweenTobias and Lavinia appear greater than just a little London gossip--and far more deadly.When events at the castle suggest someone is imitating the dead killer's methods, the team of Lake and March fervently pursue the investigation--and each other-- as their leads take them from Society's most elegant haunts- -and most discreet hideaways--to London's shadiest backstreets. As their relationship heats up, so does the intrigue. Soon Lavinia will have to employ all her talents to flummox the scoundrel who so rudely interrupted her rendezvous. And then she and Tobias can get back to more pleasurable affairs.
On the whole, I was pretty underwhelmed by this trilogy, and this final entry showcased what was good and bad about each and every one of the books. It's readable and has some good moments, but it's not particularly exciting. A B-.

What I liked most here was that the characters weren't your run-of-the-mill aristocratic rake and innocent young lady. Both Tobias and Lavinia are more mature characters who act their age and also, these two weren't all-powerful members of the ton. They do have some contact with the ton, via a few friends, but they're obviously outside of it. They are genteel, but not aristocrats, and their financial situation is merely adequate.

And finally! A widowed heroine who relishes the freedoms her condition gives her and is happy to take a lover! Lavinia and Tobias' relationship was nicely done, if unexciting. I liked that there's a strong sense of intimacy: I felt they were comfortable together and genuinely liked each other.

LFTW isn't really a funny book, but there are quite a few amusing moments, like Tobias' constant pressure on Lavinia's housekeeper for her to go out on the afternoons to buy currants, so that he and Lavinia can be alone together for a while. I thought his increasing need for more time with her was nicely done.

I also enjoyed the Victorian ambience. It's mostly of the "dark foggy nights and wet cobblestones" variety, and it worked quite well for me.

On the negative side, I was a bit bored by all the emphasis on the investigations, not only on this book but in the entire trilogy. These investigations were frankly pretty boring, and the fact that they became more and more convoluted didn't make them any more interesting.


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