A Necessary Deception, Daughters of Bainbridge House Series #1
In this first book of her new series, Laurie Alice Eakes sets the story in England in the spring of 1812 when France is at war with England, and the United States is threatening war with England as well. This is also known as the Regency period, and the story is set among the aristocratic class.
Lady Lydia Gale is a widow, living a rather poor life in comparison to her upbringing on her husbandÃ¢ÂÂs pension as he died while in service to his country fighting the French. She only enjoyed one week of marriage before her husband set off to rejoin his unit, and Lydia never saw him again. She received one final message from her husband before his death and now the time has come to fulfill the obligation set forth in his message. After meeting this obligation, she thinks she is done with her duty and heads off to London to help plan one sisterÃ¢ÂÂs wedding and another sisterÃ¢ÂÂs coming out season. Her mother is often ill and leaves this task to Lydia as she is the oldest. Lydia also is still trying to measure up to her fatherÃ¢ÂÂs expectations in anything she does as she feels she has always failed him in everything she has tried to do. She failed at being a wife, a mother, and a daughter in her eyes. She believes God no longer hears her prayers and has given up on praying. Now she is being blackmailed by an unknown government official to introduce two operatives into society or else her family will be ruined once it is found out the task Lydia was obliged to perform per her husbandÃ¢ÂÂs last edict.
Christien de Meuse is French, but moved to England with his family at the age of 10 to escape the revolutionaries. He is also looking to Lady Gale for an entrÃÂ©e into society. He and LydiaÃ¢ÂÂs husband served together as soldiers. LydiaÃ¢ÂÂs husband shared her letters and pictures with Christien, so he feels as if he knows her before he actually meets her. He is immediately smitten, but keeps his feelings to himself. He must complete his last mission, and then settle down in the country and see his sisters married off. Lady Gale on the contrary is very distrustful of him as she has just had the same request made of her by someone else. This canÃ¢ÂÂt be a coincidence. Who is telling the truth? Christien has had to compromise his personal beliefs and integrity for his job. Can he successfully complete this last mission or will he return to the Christian man he was before the service?
This novel is classified as historical romance, but there is much more. There is a tension, intrigue and suspense with each page as the reader tries to figure out who is really who they say they are and who is lying. Also, there is humor, camaraderie and bolstering of shaky faith of some. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and have already started on the second book in the series, which I will review here shortly. This is a great adventure with great dialogue to keep readers interested and quickly flipping pages until the very last page.
November 8, 2013
It took a little while for me to get into the book; but in the end it was a wonderful read. The characters are believable and you do come to enjoy them. The book ended rather abruptly I felt; but a good ending.
I began book #2 just a day ago and I am excited to see where this one goes. Book 3 is on order so perhaps by the time I finish book 2, book 3 will be here.
September 27, 2013
This books starts with a mystery and winds thru several family problems. I enjoyed it very much.
July 22, 2013
Had the potential to be a lot better
I truly loved Laurie Alice Eakes's first novel from Revell, "Lady in the Mist", but I'm afraid this one just didn't live up to my expectations. The plot definitely intrigued me, but the action scenes felt rushed and clunky, and I never really connected to Lydia. Charlotte and Honore were interesting characters, but Lydia was very indecisive and I struggled to figure out her motivations, besides vague suggestions at the fear of a man ruling her life. I did genuinely like Christien, but I wished for more insight into how he'd got his job at the Home Office and his mission in London. The details about this were pretty vague, again, but could have had a lot of potential.
It's hard to put my finger on exactly what I didn't like about this book. It was a quick and pleasant read, and at times I really did want to keep reading to figure out the mystery, but there was never any doubt in my mind that Lydia and Christian would get together, despite their personal issues. One of the biggest problems, which cropped up more so towards the end of the novel, was how preachy and forced the spiritual message of the novel felt. I had the same problem with "Lady in the Mist". I'm not sure if this is a remnant from the author previously writing for Heartsong Presents, since I've always found the spiritual messages in those books to be overbearing. Either way, I wished the message could have been better integrated into the story or perhaps even more original. A message about putting our trust in God, while valid, is one that's been done many, many times in Christian fiction, and I wished for something a bit more challenging.
Ultimately, this book wasn't a chore to read. It was fairly entertaining, but I struggled with it because I picked up on so many things I thought could have been improved on. To be honest, this book felt like it needed a thorough edit before it hit the shelves. I hate to say that, but that's the impression I was left with upon finishing the book; cliff-hangers that weren't picked up for several pages, or at all, plus wishy-washy backstories and an overwrought spiritual message all felt like they needed to be tidied up a little.
I'll still read the second book in this series, since I've already requested a review copy, but I just didn't find this book of the same quality of "Lady in the Mist", although I felt like it had the potential to be a lot better than it was.
December 15, 2012