REVIEW: One Night In London by Caroline LindenFriday, August 26, 2011 1:00
This is the start of a new series from Linden, and since sheâ€™s a new-to-me author, I was looking forward to the read. However, this one proved to be a bit of a disappointment, because of its lax pacing and lack of real conflict.
Edward de Lacey is the second son of a duke. The book starts with the old man on his deathbed and several pages of â€śbut I must tell you my secret!â€ť before the duke dies in good old â€śIt was Argh!â€ť tradition. But the secret, or part of it, is vouchsafed by the family lawyer. The duke was married before he married the mother of the three sons who consider themselves his heirs. That would illegitimise them, and so they couldnâ€™t inherit anything that wasnâ€™t left to them personally, and would, of course, disbar them from the entail and the title. There is a cousin, Augustus, who would be the heir.
So Edward, who is the responsible one and runs the estate, goes to London to engage a solicitor. I wasnâ€™t quite sure why, but I think Ms. Linden has confused the roles of a solicitor and a barrister. That continued to be an annoying niggle. A great house like that of a duke would have a regular â€śman of business,â€ť or solicitor, and he would take care of all the estate business and engage a barrister when necessary. People donâ€™t go directly to barristers as a rule, and a barristerâ€™s only job is to represent the client in court. So why Edward would want a new solicitorÂ who seems to do a barristerâ€™s job when he has a perfectly serviceable solicitor is a bit nonsensical. But it does mean that he gets to meet the heroine, Francesca.
Francesca is a widow, and she wants her niece back. She believes that her niece is being held by the family of her aunt against her will and being used as a drudge, and she wants to engage a solicitor to act for her in court (which he couldnâ€™t do, not in the higher courts, anyway). The man agrees, only to be thrown into a frenzy by getting the case from Edward about the dukedom.
There is my other disconnect, because Iâ€™ve read Bleak House, which is about a real-life case of inheritance. The lawyers throw this one into such complexities that the estate is eaten up by legal fees and lasted generations. A case like this would be nuts to the lawyers, and there is one easy solution. The Crown takes away the title and reinvests it in the eldest son as the first of the dukedom of the second creation. It happened sometimes, and it sorted out legitimacies or, otherwise, created new conditions.
Why am I going on about this? Because the book does. The first 30% (I read the ARC on my Kindle, which does percents rather than pages) is full of it and little else. There is little character development or plot development and no tension or reason to read on. I nearly gave up, but I wanted to read at least half, to see if there’s any story at all in this.
Well, not really. The story about the niece kind of peters out and has a conclusion I find a little difficult to believe. The duke problem, of course, goes on to another book.
So I always say that the romance is about the characters, right? Okay. Edward doesnâ€™t seem to have a character, apart from being steady and boring. There is nothing to attract me to him, other than his performance in the sack. Heâ€™s tall, dark, and boring. Francesca is similarly plodding and a bit boring. She has a nice lifeâ€”and thereâ€™s a word thatâ€™s used inappropriately in this bookâ€”and except for the problem of her niece, everythingâ€™s hunky-dory.Â And there’s a woman called Evelyn in this story, which was a man’s name in this period.
There is quite a lot of sex in the second half of the book, as if making up for lost time.
The book is reasonably well written, and most of the historical details are nicely done, although the author didnâ€™t really create a world for me, just bits of one. Things like the heroineâ€™s clothes, which are described as full and frothing (in the Regency?) took me out of the story occasionally, and the â€śgâ€ť word crops up a time or two. My main problem with this book is the lacklustre plot and characterless characters. I wasnâ€™t really engaged in their story.
Oh, yes, and the frankly horrible cover. What is she doing? Presenting herself for doggy-style sex? Not the authorâ€™s fault, though, so I canâ€™t hold that against her, except that I kept putting the book to the bottom of the virtual TBR pile because of it. But I read it all, and I don’t think I’ll be aching to read the next in the series. Sorry.
A bargain that was all business . . . and pure passion.
Neither wealth nor beauty will help Lady Francesca Gordon win custody of her young niece Georgina, saving the girl from a cruel stepmother; she needs Londonâ€™s top solicitor for that. But when Edward de Lacey, son of the powerful Duke of Durham, hires away the one man who can do the job, Francesca decides Edward himself must champion her case . . . if only she can melt the dashing lordâ€™s stony heart.
Edward has reason to be guarded, though. Londonâ€™s tabloids have just exposed a secret that could ruin his entire family. When Francesca offers a unique chance to undo the damage, Edward is forced to agree to a partnership . . . and now, each moment together feeds the flames of his scandalous longing for the passionate widow. But when Georgina disappears, fate will test them both . . . and leave their love hanging in the balance.
No excerpt available.