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Book CoverC2’s review of As Luck Would Have It by Alissa Johnson
Historical Romance release by Dorchester 30 Sept 08

Since this is my debut here at TGTBTU, it seems appropriate that I’m reviewing a debut author. Of course, it could have gone terribly, terribly wrong – the book, I mean. You may judge the review on your own. However, as luck would have it (heh), I found Ms. Johnson’s first effort quite enjoyable.

We meet Sophie, our heroine, on her way back to England after spending much of her youth traveling the world with her father. A gentleman on the ship tells her he has been sent by the Prince Regent with the request of a favor. Apparently the cousin who has been managing the family estate is friendly with some suspicious fellows and Prinny wants more information. Of course, Sophie balks at spying on family but, after hearing that the cousin has been mismanaging funds and imperiling the family estate, she is persuaded to take the job…for a fee.

At roughly the same time, Alex, our hero (and a duke, as well), is getting an assignment with the same desired outcome but his instructions are a bit more unusual. He is told to get close to Sophie and maneuver his way into the cousin’s confidence. Like any young duke, he has spent a great deal of time and effort avoiding young, marriageable misses of good family. Still, Alex knows his duty to crown and country.

And we’re off into a fun-filled adventure, gentle readers! What happens when two spies with the same objective but working for different people try to accomplish their goals without anyone finding out? Comedy, of course! At least, if the two spies are Sophie and Alex. Plus, Ms. Johnson gives us supporting characters that are more than wallpaper or sequel bait (although there are two more books coming).

The best part of the book, for me, was the banter between the main duo and the supporting characters. The conversations were so lively and fun – without becoming slapstick-y – but still seemed true to the period.

Will our duo catch the spies? Maybe. Will the evil cousin’s machinations be for naught? Maybe. Will love triumph in the end? What kind of book do you think this is, gentle reader? Of course, love will triumph! Jeez. I’m looking forward to the sequel, Tempting Fate, coming in February 2009.

My take on “As Luck Would Have It” – for the plot, since there wasn’t anything groundbreaking (although the way Ms. Johnson managed to weave together several historical romance set-pieces without it seeming awkward or rushed was impressive), a C; for the characters and dialogue, a B. Since, for me, characters and dialogue outweigh plot,

csquareds-icon.jpgGrade: B-

After years of wild adventures overseas, Miss Sophie Everton is in no hurry to return home to the boring strictures of the ton. But she’s determined to reclaim her family’s fortune–even if she has to become a spy for the Prince Regent to do it.

Before she can get her first assignment, she lands right in the lap of the dark and dashing Duke of Rockeforte. She’s faced hungry tigers that didn’t look nearly as predatory. Somehow the blasted man manages to foil her at every turn–and make her pulse thrum with something
more than just the thrill of danger.

Both are caught in a daring dance of espionage and desire. But to make a true love match, they’ll have to learn to trust in each other…and, of course, a little bit of luck.

Read an excerpt.