Rendezvous, by Amanda Quick

>> Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Yesterday I finished reading Rendezvous, by Amanda Quick. This used to me my favourite Quick, but, though I liked it very much (a B), my new fave is Ravished so far. I'll have a final decision when I finished rereading all of them ;-)


"Augusta Ballinger was quite sure that it was all a dreadful mistake. The chillingly pompous and dangerously disturbing Earl of Graystone could not possibly wish to marry her. Why, it was rumoured that his chosen bride must be a veritable model of virtue. And everyone knew that Augusta, as the last of the wild, reckless Northumberland Ballingers was a woman who could not be bothered by society's rules.

That was why the spirited beauty had planned a midnight encounter to warn the earl off, to convince him that she would make him a very poor wife indeed. But when she crawled in through his darkened study window, Augusta only succeeded in strengthening Harry's resolve: to kiss the laughter from those honeyed lips and teach this maddening miss to behave! How could he possibly know that it was he who was in for a lesson... as his brazen fiancée set out to win his heart - and an old and clever enemy stepped in to threaten their love, their honour and their very lives?"

At last, an Amanda Quick heroine that isn't a bluestocking! Augusta is proud of her frivolousness, and though she is quite intelligent and holds many bluestocking opinions (women's lib, mostly), she's unapologetic about enjoying parties, clothes and having fun. Quite refreshing. I must confess I would be more similar to the typical character in temperament, but it gets boring to read only one type of heroine in historicals.

Augusta's character is a good contrast to Harry, who is more traditional and even a bit straight-laced. He's no prig, and has a nice sense of humour, but his autocratic tendencies were sometimes a bit too much. I detested him near the beginning when he conspired with Augusta's uncle to send off notices of their engagement before telling her anything, to prevent her from refusing him. He redeems himself somewhat, but he retains these tendencies and Augusta always seems to give way to him, which was the main reason this book didn't get an A grade.

I liked the parts when Harry realizes he's competing with Augusta's brother for her full loyalty, and that this is something he has to earn, but this was resolved almost too pat. Same thing with him wanting more from her than loyalty and duty, not enough emphasis on it.

I loved the idea of Pompeia, as a gentleman's club only for ladies. Why weren't there any of those in reality? Sheldrake as Scruggs was great fun, and Sally was a lovely character. Speaking of Sheldrake, having a secondary storyline in an Amanda Quick book was quite novel. Problem was, it didn't seem to be developed enough. The groundwork was laid for a good one, but we never really see anything happen, we are just told so and so are engaged now. Frustrating.

The suspense subplot was interesting, only I was a bit irritated because we are never told what Richard's poem really meant. All those "count 3 left", etc. had roused my curiosity, and I didn't appreciate being left hanging. Or was there a small line about it and I missed it? I don't think so, but it's possible.

On a final note, I liked Harry's daughter Meredith very much. Children in romance novels usually bore me, but I realize this is only when it's "adorable", "precious" children. Nerdy ones I tend to like.

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