Mischief, by Amanda Quick

>> Monday, February 03, 2003

This weekend I concentrated on rereads. First, Amanda Quick's Mischief:

Imogen Waterstone has always prided herself on being a thoroughly independent young woman, but now she needs a man of implacable will and nerves of iron. That's why she invited Matthias Marshall, infamous Earl of Colchester, to her home in Upper Strickland. Who better than the legendary explorer to help her lay the perfect trap?

Her scheme is simple, really: She plans to let it be known that when she inherited her uncle's collection of antiquities, she also inherited a map to a fabulous ancient treasure. She's sure that her enemy would risk financial ruin in pursuit of the mythical artifact. And to make doubly sure the scoundrel took the bait, she wants Colchester to pretend that he's out to seduce Imogene so that he, too, could get his hands on her map.

Yet in all of her plotting, Imogene never anticipates Colchester's violent reaction to her request or her own electrifying reaction to him. Neither does she expect that a malevolent threat would emerge from the labyrinth of London--sinister enough to endanger her and Colchester's lives.

This one was quite similar to Deception. A hero who everyone believes is cold but the heroine thinks has delicate nerves and sensibilities, an emphasis on travel and exploration (a lost civilization here, a treasure in Deception), a story which starts in the country and then moves to London, H/h caught in a compromising position and forced to marry. For all that it was derivative, I still liked this book. A B+

Imogen was ok, though I didn't really "get" her need to get revenge for her friend Lucy. Very admirable (even if everyone but her knew Lucy hadn't been much of a friend), but I never saw any real grief for her friend in Imogen, or any rage when she confronted Vannick. Given the apparent shallowness of her feelings for her friend, it seems strange that she would have gone to so much trouble to avenge her.

Matthias was a very appealing hero, one of JAK's typical lonely guys. When they realize the heroine "keeps the ghosts at bay", what can I say? That gets me every time.

All that stuff about Zamar felt a bit wasted on this story. An adventure novel about the discovery of Zamar would have been nice (I'm a sucker for stories where the H&h go looking for a lost civilization), but here it was used solely as wallpaper.

The suspense subplot I felt was a bit obvious, but that was probably because it was a reread. I don't know if I would have caught the little clue at the beginning if this had been my first read.

Oh, and a short note about Imogen's landlady! I loved her very apropos little storys about debauchery among the ton!

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