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Anne Stuart is such a wonderful writer. Like Stephanie Laurens, she writes characters that are three dimensional and have more than a bit of attitude. I'm a bit ambivalent about the earlier series Ice but really enjoyed the House of Rohan.
I was delighted when I saw that there would be a new series: "Scandal at the House of Russell". Basically three daughters are trying to find the person behind their father's death and public ruin. The first book in the series, Never Kiss a Rake, was excellent and I'm happy to say that the second in the series is too.
The Scandal series is a bit racier than the Rohan series but it's nicely balanced with some humor and really fine writing. As with the first book in the series, the male lead is nuanced -- not a completely nice guy but he comes around to the right behavior. The female progatonist, like her sister in the early book, takes a position in service for the person she's investigating. She has issues with her position as a maid -- working long days, backbreaking labor, and having to put up with difficult people is far outside her previous experience as a daughter of a rich man.
I enjoyed both books in the series and look forward to the third. The books should be read in order as there are themes that run across the series.
I would also like to highly recommend Xe Sands for the excellent job she's done on this series. I think of all of the female narrators, she consistently does an excellent job. With many female narrators, I find their male voices lacking. Xe Sands is able to comfortably carry different accents (Irish, ...) but also can convey a gravely nature to a male voice. I admit to a bias for books read by Jim Frangione and Simon Prebble -- but I am delighted when I see that Xe Sands will be providing the narration for a book.
Is this my all-time favorite series? No -- but it's definitely toward the top of the list.
And I'm _really_ looking forward to more books by Anne Stuart.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Setting: Devenport, England 1867
Genre: Romance, with a bit of intrigue
Narration: First time I've listened Xe Sands. She reads the non-speaking parts with an American accent, a practice that used to bother me with books set in England, but her accent for dialog is appropriate for the characters. She does a good job.
This is the 2nd book in The Scandal at the House of Russell trilogy. Overall, it is an enjoyable listen. The plot is sort of in first person singular, with sections from the POV of both main characters and some bits from the villain. It is mostly believable, and the characters are interesting.
The beauty and sexiness of these characters could make them seem sort of plastic, but they have flaws that humanize them. I like that Maddie is strong and intelligent and Luca (Captain Morgan's real name) has a bit of gentleness revealed over the course of the story. Neither of the main characters do really stupid things as a plot device. The villain is appropriately creepy, and probably because I didn't read the first book in the trilogy, I didn't recognize him until about half way through.
In my opinion, this is worth the time and credit.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful