The theme: A book by an author with more than one title on your TBR. This was serendipitous, because I have The Accidental Duchess for review, and wanted to read the other books in the series first. I am always one to kill two birds with one stone. (I also have Stealing Heaven in my TBR; for some reason, I have never been able to get through it.) Since I’ve read two of the series so far, I’ll write about both of them.
I was unimpressed with The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne, though not to the point of ranting about it. The set-up and relationship dynamics reminded me very much of The Rules of Seduction, my favorite book by Hunter, and the derivative feeling did not help an already lackluster story. (It also had echoes of Lord of Sin, another mediocre book.) The mystery was dull and anticlimactic.
I expected The Conquest of Lady Cassandra to suck, not just because “Miss Fairbourne” was so blah, but because Cassandra’s role in the series seemed to be basically the same as Phaedra from The Lessons of Desire, and that was the weakest book of that series. Happily, although this wasn’t Hunter’s best, it was considerably better than either of those two books. The mystery is actually surprising, and the friendship between Cassandra and the heroine of the first book is strong. I thought it fell down a bit on the romance, and didn’t take enough advantage of the angst-potential.
I’ve started the third book in the series. The main characters are quite interesting — a wily heroine who isn’t as smart as she thinks she is, and a blunt, stubborn, bigoted hero; I hope the so-far improving trend will continue to the fourth book!
Coincidentally, right around the time I was reading these, Google books helped me figure out that a nagging quote I couldn’t place was from Hunter’s By Possession. I went to read the quote in context and found myself once again getting swept into the story and its intriguing themes. It was good to have a reminder of why Hunter has been one of my favorite authors. I hope she’s just going through a bad patch and will be again.