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[personal profile] jacey




This is somewhat confusing. On Goodreads the author is listed as Shannon Drake (Heather Graham's pen name), while on Netgalley (which is my source for this book, it's listed simply as Heather Graham.

A Victorian story of forbidden love set in at the London of Jack the Ripper. When her brother, Justin, gambles away his Baronial fortune Maggie, a young widow agrees to marry Charles, Lord Langdon, an elderly and very wealthy viscount who, as part of the deal, will settle Justin's debts. Charles' great nephew and heir, Jamie, is determined to prove that Maggie is a fortune hunter, which she freely admits that she is, but also that she's very ford of her husband to be, and intends to be a faithful wife. Starting out at loggerheads with each other, Maggie and Jamie are irresistibly drawn together. The situation is further complicated by Charles' headstrong seventeen year old daughter who hates Maggie on principle—and very soon has excellent reason to do so.

The romance plot is intertwined with a revenge plot. One of Maggie's hobbies is exposing fraudulent mediums preying on the recently bereaved, and one such vows his revenge. Maggie's other hobby is feeding the poor gin-sodden prostitutes of Whitechapel, putting her right in the Jack-the-Ripper danger zone. Maggie has no sense of self-preservation at all, which is something I find quite difficult to believe. Jamie is on hand to help more often that I would expect—all very convenient.

This is apparently Book 6 out of 7 in the Graham series, first published in 2004, but it works as a standalone. The other Graham novels appear to be set in medieval Scotland and are unrelated.

It's funny how little things can lurch you out of an otherwise perfectly acceptable story. The author seems to think that a young woman in late Victorian England reached her majority at the age of eighteen, which is a pity because one of the sub-plot points hinges on this. Also Lord Langdon and Lord Jamie are not interchangeable forms of address.

I quite enjoyed this but got exasperated with Maggie's foolishness. Firstly acquiescing to her uncle's demands that she marry a chap close to four times her age, just for his money. Secondly for abandoning her intentions to be a good and faithful wife on the night before her wedding. And then (several times) she crossed the too-stupid-to-live line.

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