Deception by Amanda Quick… aka “Ms. Wingfield and the Pirate Nanny”

Deception by Amanda Quick… aka “Ms. Wingfield and the Pirate Nanny”

As I stated in another review, nobody can write bluestockings and over-the-top heroes like Ms. Quick.

Miss Wingfield and Mr. Chillhurst are no different. Olympia is a rather absent-minded adoptive mother of three, almost ignorant in terms of society rules and regulations, but well-versed in translating and decrypting old diaries… Which is why Jared, undercover viscount masquerading as a pirate masquerading as a tutor, requires her expertise. And if he just happens to find her attractive and suitable for the part of future countess, who’s to blame?

Together they battle propriety and back-stabbing associates, while solving a century-long mystery (although, disappointingly, we never get to hear about the actual treasure, as the story ends before they leave for the island where the treasure is supposed to be buried).

As in most Amanda Quick novels, we also have a flock of supporting characters: three surprisingly well-mannered boys, despite one TSTL episode; one hilarious housekeeper; his family and her new friends, who are basically a bunch of lovable busy-bodies AND two surprising lesbian couples (Olympia’s beloved aunts and Chillhurst’s “former acquaintances”). Given the fact that this book was originally release in the early 90s, this is serious stuff and Ms. Quick may be considered an ice-breaker of sorts.

I always recommend Ms. Quick to people who want to get onto the historical romance bandwagon, but don’t know where to start. Her books are usually fun romps, with charming characters and themes/mysteries that are light enough not to steal the romance spotlight.

“Ravished” by Amanda Quick… aka “The fossil whisperer and – quite literally – Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”

“Ravished” by Amanda Quick… aka “The fossil whisperer and – quite literally – Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”

Somehow, when I first came in contact with this genre, I was lucky enough to stumble upon two pretty good books that managed to get me hooked on historical romances. The first one was Julia Quinn’s “To Sir Philip, with love”. The second was Ms. Quick’s “Ravished”. Need I say more?

Nobody can write bluestockings like Ms. Quick. Nobody! While other such heroines tend to be wallflowers with certain literary pursuits or budding journalists, Ms. Quick’s heroines usually don’t give a damn on what the society regards as proper and are experts in their field of work… all the while not being very impressed with the antics of their over-the-top heroes.

Harriet and Gideon are the perfect example. He’s a huge, brooding and lonely beast of a man with trust issues and a penchant for allowing society think the worst of him. She’s “almost” a slip of a woman with an unusual hobby, overlapping teeth and a streak of independence, who’s used to getting her way. Still, when she stumbles upon the hideout of a gang of thieves, she summons the master of the land and practically demands that he free her beloved caves. I immediately liked Gideon because he believed her. He did not belittle her for her hobby or think that she had some sort of mental condition, despite the manner in which she received him, and he ended up solving the pest situation, though with some difficulty.

As always with Ms. Quick, there is a gaggle of charming secondary characters (family and friends), some really interesting dynamics between the protagonists (and I’m not just talking about the horizontal tango here – for example, he’s not wary of impending pregnancy, but rather of his betrothed being brought to town to “acquire polish”) and a really old mystery to be solved (though you kind of see that one coming). He’s trying to be forceful and frightening, she’s having none of that and manages all tight situations surprisingly well. Together, despite all expectations, they are quite sweet and a force to be reckoned with.

Yes, all the way!

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy a.k.a. “Am I really reading a Julia Quinn novel?”

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy a.k.a. “Am I really reading a Julia Quinn novel?”

Lately, Ms. Quinn has been writing rather bland books… but this one was actually kind of insulting. Which is new for her… and hopefully a situation not to be repeated.

You probably already know the premises: a peer of some kind comes down to London to hunt for a bride in two weeks or less. (Hmm, somebody, somewhere should really write a reality show scenario on this.) Anyway, he finds the pale redhead (based on the previous descriptions of Iris, I’d have expected her to be a really washed blonde, but not a redhead, and how are redheads fading away exactly? That kind of melanin would have entailed at least similar eyebrows and maybe some freckles… so how and where to is she fading exactly?!) to be adequate to his tastes and requirements, kisses her in a awfully brutish way, in order to compromise her and whisks her away to his far, far, FAR away home.

I had so many issues with this book, after just a hundred pages or so, it wasn’t even funny anymore.

First of all, how can Iris still stand the creature after that really, really botched kiss (to be read “assault”) that compromised her? Secondly, how can her parents/aunts/clan force her to marry the cretin? After all, she was caught “kissing” him by one of her own aunts, who is supposedly able to keep her mouth shut. They were never seen by anyone else, so how would the gossip actually start? And even if the gossip did start, Iris was already on her way to becoming a spinster, so why would the entire thing have caused her to be shunned by society, even provided that her aunt could really not keep quiet? And don’t even get me started on the parents…

Moving on. As their trip north began, so did the questions. Why isn’t he poorer? After all, he’s only a “Sir” and up to that moment it had been hinted that he might have only wanted her for her dowry, even if there was really not much of it… Why is he so well-known (where was he going since the innkeepers know him, but the whole of London doesn’t) and, of course, since this IS supposedly, a romance novel, why isn’t he banging his wife? Then, for about fifty pages, as we get to the house and the ties start binding, I entered a serious state of denial. I saw the disaster coming, but I still refused to believe it.

no… No… NO! This kind of plot CANNOT exist in a Julia Quinn novel! She’s not Jo Beverly! She’s not Virginia Henley! Noooooo!!!!!

Alas, it did exist.

Never before have I witnessed such a slap in the face of womanhood (because we can’t even talk about feminism here); no, actually I have noticed this before, back when I was trying to survive through some Company of Rogues novels.

I cannot even begin to describe the complete disappointment I felt not only with the book and the characters, but with the author as well. Ms. Quinn! I started reading historical romances thanks to you! I managed to escape the crappiness of reality at times, thanks to you and other authors like yourself, authors I discovered because I liked your novels so much! What have you done!?!?