Compromised, by Kate Noble

>> Thursday, October 20, 2011

TITLE: Compromised
AUTHOR: Kate Noble

PAGES: 368

SETTING: 19th century England
TYPE: Romance

Miss Gail Alton was not having a good day. Or a good year. First, she's strong-armed into attending the Season as a foil to her beautiful sister Evangeline. Then, while riding her mare in the park, she gets toppled by a stuffy, self-important, too-handsome-by-half "gentleman" who has the audacity to blame her for their fall into the chilly lake! Little does Gail know that the very same man will soon be found in a compromising position with her sister...

Forced into asking for Evangeline's hand in marriage, Maximillian, Viscount Fontaine, can't take his mind off the irksome girl who threw him from his horse and who can match wits with him at every turn. He's determined to follow through with his best intentions, yet he can't deny that Gail makes him want to cast propriety aside-and whisk away the sister of his soon-to-be bride...
Kate Noble has been billed as a new Julia Quinn, and say what you will about wallpaper historicals, sometimes JQ just hits the spot for me. I was hoping for charming and funny, including a sweet romance which, nonetheless, had plenty of emotion. But although I do see where the comparison is coming from, Compromised felt a bit amateurish to me and didn't completely satisfy.

The plot is reminiscent of Quinn's wonderful The Viscount Who Loved Me: Max, Viscount Fontaine is newly engaged to Gail Alton's younger sister, after they were accidentally caught in compromising circumstances. Max doesn't mind, as he developed a crush on little sister Evangeline as soon as he met her.

Max isn't pleased to discover that he'd already ran into Evangeline's older sister, in quite an embarrassing encounter. Max and Gail's relationship is adversarial, to say the least, but as Max gets to know Evangeline better and realises they really don't have much in common, he's also realising that not only does he like Gail, he's got a sneaking suspicion that she would suit him much better than Evangeline...

I liked this well enough. Max and Gail are well suited to each other, and I enjoyed how they became good friends before other feelings developed. It's a difficult situation they're in, especially because Gail does love her sister and -shocker!- Evangeline is quite a lovely person as well. She might be petite and delicate and pretty, but she's a real person, who loves her sister right back, rather than a cardboard bitch it would have been easy to hate.

All good, but just... not great. I can´t really pinpoint what didn't work, simply that it all felt a bit meh. Gail and Max, especially. I found it hard to get too excited about them. They're fine, but that's it. Fine, but nothing special.



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