Monday, November 14, 2016

Review of "Lie By Moonlight" by Amanda Quick

During the reign of Queen Victoria - when social conventions in England were exceptionally rigid - twenty-something teacher Concordia Glade has been hired to educate four teenage girls at an 'orphan school' housed in Ardwick Castle. Concordia gets wind of a scheme that (she thinks) involves selling the girls to brothels so - being an unusually intrepid woman - plans a daring escape.

As it happens, a private inquiry agent named Ambrose Wells is hanging around Ardwick Castle during Concordia's risky flight, and he helps the teacher and her charges get away. Ambrose then hides the ladies in the home of his wealthy benefactor. Since Ambrose knows the evil schemers will try to get the girls back, he plans to foil the bad guys and expose them. Concordia insists on helping Ambrose and he (reluctantly) agrees.

Since this is a romantic suspense novel Ambrose and Concordia feel an overpowering mutual attraction, which is very obvious to the teenage girls - who worry that Concordia will be 'ruined' if she kisses Ambrose (or heaven forbid more than that!). The girls discuss this among themselves and then 'talk to' both Ambrose and Concordia....and these parts are pretty funny.

Ambrose and Concordia have a great deal in common since they both have unusual backgrounds. Ambrose was a 'gentleman thief' and Concordia was born to unmarried parents who promoted free love and good education for women (both unusual in Victorian times).

Step by step - using clever ruses and daring gambits - Concordia and Ambrose uncover the sordid scheme to 'auction off' the girls, which (knowingly or not) involves the benefactor of an orphan school; the director of the orphan school; a gentleman who moves in upper social circles; and a criminal mastermind. Other characters round out the story, including: Mr. Stoner - a kindly, cultured gentleman who teaches the teenage girls to 'gamble' (play cards.... ha ha ha); Felix - a policeman; and employees at a men's bath house. There's a good bit of drama and death in the book, and Concordia shows her mettle.

The story has lots of romantic entanglement between Ambrose and Concordia, and some steamy sex. I'm not a big fan of romantic suspense, but I knew what to expect when I started the book (for a reading challenge) - so I won't complain too much. However I don't believe that people get engaged a few days after they meet.

The mystery/suspense part of the story is compelling, there are some surprises, and (I don't think it's a spoiler to say) there's a HEA for fans of love stories.

I'd recommend the book to fans of the romantic suspense genre.

Rating: 3 stars

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