Mistress, by Amanda Quick

>> Wednesday, January 22, 2003

I still haven't finished writing about the books I read last weekend, and it's already Wednesday. I'm being lazy, I know. Ok, the last book I read this weekend was Amanda Quick's Mistress. I'm happy to report it's now disputing the title of "My Favourite Quick" with Ravished.

"After a year of grand adventures touring the classical ruins of Italy and Greece, Iphiginia Bright returned to England to discover that the real excitement was at home. It seems that her Aunt Zoe has fallen victim to a sinister blackmailer and only Iphiginia can hope to stop the culprit before he can do more harm. Her plan is inspired: Imitating history's most legendary beauties--Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Aphrodite--the former schoolmistress will remake herself, and descend upon London Society as the dazzling mistress of Marcus Valerius Cloud, the infamous Earl of Masters. Rumors hint that the Earl has disappeared at the blackmailer's hands, and by posing as his unknown mistress, Iphiginia is convinced she can ferret out the villain.

Overnight, Iphiginia is transformed into a vision with a host of eager admirers, including one she does not expect -- the Earl of Masters himself, who strides into a shimmering ballroom one evening to cooly reclaim his "mistress". He is everything they say he is... arrogant, attractive, devastatingly seductive, and Iphiginia can't help but be enthralled. But when Marcus agrees to play along with her charade, she doesn't know that the determined earl has plans of his own: to tease and tempt her, until the beautiful deceiver becomes more than his mistress in name only."

This is JAK at the top of her game. An A. The hero, Marcus, is great. A bit of a nerd and a loner, really in danger of turning into a "clockwork man". I really wasn't surprised when Iphiginia made up her mind to marry him when she heard he was afraid of turning into one. I also liked that he hadn't always been very polished, and he still was a bit of a clod in his own mind. The first love scene was really funny.

Iphiginia was one of JAK's bluestocking heroines, but less dizzy and naive than most. She's got a good head for business and is very smart and creative, though her scheme to catch the blackmailer didn't make much sense to me. ;-)

The blackmail plot thingie, BTW, was a bit convoluted, and the villain not really believable. I don't really read this for the suspense subplot, so when in the same book every incident has different motives on the part of the villain, it's too much work to keep track.

Some bits and bobs about the book: liked the Marcus - Bennet relationship (I love good brother interactions in romance), the Amelia and the widows and spinsters fund, and the way she got her revenge on her rapist were great, and finally, the love scenes were very hot. Not many of them, but nice.

Weird coincidence. On Sunday morning, when I'd just finished reading this, I drove my aunt to the tiny little supermarket in downtown La Floresta ("downtown La Floresta" means 3 blocks where you can find some 5 or 6 stores. That's the commercial district. Love the place!) and noticed they now have a book section, just a couple of shelves containing a jumble of paperbacks. I took a cursory glance at them, mostly finding self-help books and surprise, a couple of paperback romances (translated to Spanish, of course). Among them: "La Amante", by Amanda Quick, the book I'd just finished. There was also a copy of Mystique (translated as Un Amor MÃ?Â?gico, "A Magic Love"). I was surprised to see they were about 2 US dollars each. Oh, and they had terribly lurid clinch covers, both of them. :-D

Update: I reread this book in June 2004. Click here to read my post about it.

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