Not So Innocent, by Laura Lee Guhrke

>> Thursday, October 23, 2003

I really liked the first Laura Lee Guhrke I read, Breathless. Not So Innocent (Pandora's Box and excerpt), sounded completely different: Victorian instead of turn-of-the-century US, has a psychic heroine... Still, it did sound interesting.

Sophie Haversham would give anything not to have the gift of foresight. After all, her "talent" has already cost her one fiancé. And reporting a crime that hasn't happened yet is no easy task, especially to a tough, street-wise Scotland Yard detective. Inspector Mick Dunbar doesn't believe in visions, and he's convinced Sophie is actually shielding a would-be murderer. Only when Sophie's life is in danger does Mick realize he has fallen in love with this beautiful, courageous woman who can see into his very mind and heart, but will the knowledge come too late to save her?
Not quite as good as the first 50 pages promised, but still pretty nice: B.

The first thing that comes to mind is that Sophie's psychic powers were very underused. I really would have liked to see more of her powers in action, so to speak, but this part of the book is limited to a couple of little "mindreading" episodes and one vision. I guess the author succeeded in making this interesting, so much so that she has me begging for more! ;-)

Both Sophie and Mick were likeable people, and I found them especially interesting because they weren't the usual rake/bluestocking so many romance novels feature. I liked Mick. He was very charming, in an unpolished way, and one of the things I like best about him is that he doesn't have that "I'm just a policeman, she's too good for me" trauma. He is wonderfully self-assured. The only problem I had with him was that he persisted in not trusting Sophie for a little too long.

Sophie was ok, but more typical innocent, self-martyring, occasionally foolish romance heroine. The first scene, when she goes to the police and tells Mick about her vision, I wanted to shake her. Come on, you know anyone would be doubtful when you tell them about how you saw a murder in your dreams, at least tell them in a way that they won't think you're stupid as well as crazy! She's not that bad in the rest of the book, except for the fact that she seems to be unable to stand up to her mother. Arghh!!

Mick and Sophie had a lot of chemistry, but the actual love scenes felt a bit weird, even if they were very nicely written. There was the dreaded "I want to have sex once to treasure the memory forever", plus no thoughts for the consequences on either's part.

The mystery was interesting and intriguing, but the solution came from nowhere. There was absolutely no way we could have guessed, because we didn't have the necessary info. I mean, I guessed the murderer must be someone who was connected to this certain case in Mick's past, but I simply couldn't know who it was. Well, at least the solution made sense!

The author really makes the Victorian England setting come alive, and it was really good, both the more working-class parts of London and the upper-class ones.

Oh, and a little comment: Loved that small mention of football... though I don't think a London-born and raised guy at those times would hate Manchester United, not to mention be a Glasgow fan! "Global" football is a much more recent phenomenon, or at least, that's my impression. Still, good for the author for including a mention of my beloved game.


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