Title: Lady of Intrigue
Series: Group of Eight #2
Author: Sabrina Darby
Format: eBook, 233 pages
Published: November 9, 2015 by Entangled: Scandalous
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Her captor. Her Savior. And her temptation...
Lady Jane Langley values logic and reason over passion and emotion. Her intellect has given her value in the eyes of both her father and society. Logic gives way to terrible, icy fear when Jane finds herself in a devastating carriage accident... an accident in which she is helpless to do anything but watch as her aristocratic companion is murdered.
But this was no mere accident. This was an assassination. Spy and grandson of Lord Landsdowne, Gerard Badeau is methodic in his dark, shadowy work, knowing that any display of emotion could get him killed. Something about the mysterious woman and her cool blue eyes stays Gerard's lethal hand. Now he has both a witness and a hostage.
And if he doesn't kill Lady Jane Langley, he risks a fate that is far, far worse...falling in love with her.
Gerard was born on the wrong side of the blanket and as a consequence has lived his life as a tool for his Machiavellian grandfather, Lord Landsdowne. Wearing the current mantle of assassin, he meets Lady Jane and with one look into her cool and assessing eyes, he finds himself wanting to shed all his previous skins. Jane has let life pass her by working as her father's secretary and reveling in being around powerful men who rule the time. However, staring into her angel of death's face has finally sparked her desire for her own life. Jane doesn’t want her life to change and Gerard desperately wants it to, what neither has realized is that they've already changed each other and the rest is inescapable.
Lady of Intrigue is book two in the Group of Eight series and while I'm sure some characters made appearances in the first book, this could be read as a standalone. The tone and feel of this was quite different from the usual historical regency romance fare. The writing and emotions felt heady, heavy, and in the beginning, I felt somewhat seduced by the languid feel. As I read on though, the story and characters never fully formed from the mist they seemed shrouded in. It felt as if the author had skipped or left out the building blocks of our characters' relationship and with such a foundationless format, I didn't connect to this story as much as I would have liked.
"We are impossible, but inevitable."
Gerard started off as a great dark and murky man of mystery with his world weariness and devout commitment to Jane; he will be the favorite of the story. Jane was a cool character who was a realistic product of her time but this also made her a very unromantic heroine. Jane enjoys her lofty spot in society and realizes that marrying an illegitimate man with a shady background will put an end to those invitations she enjoys (she's not so much into the vapid social scene as the political power one). See what I mean? Realistic? Yes. Passionately romantic? Umm, no. In a bit of a reversal of her time period attitude, she sleeps with Gerard but still refuses to marry him. This all made her character seem a bit uneven; especially in the last few chapters where she has a very sudden change of heart that was probably put in to redeem her in the reader's eye. Gerard shows a bit of frustration towards her attitude but ultimately works at getting his stature to rise in society to make himself worthy.
"You have to let me go," she whispered.
"Don't be a coward."
Gerard's murky dealings for his grandfather and his other outsourced work, led to our couple meeting and kept them in danger but there were too many, way to the side players and it wasn't always worth the effort to keep track of how everything and everyone connected and interacted; classism and Jane were the biggest villains of this piece. The main focus seemed to want to be the impossible and inevitable relationship between Gerard and Jane but while I was intrigued the how and why parts seemed to be missing. As soon as our leads make eye contact they are in love. The tone saves the story from feeling insta sappy but not from feeling real and having me question why Gerard and Jane felt the way they did about each other; substance was needed.
Lady of Intrigue started off intriguing with its misty tone and shadowy hero but with a cool hearted heroine and lack of substantive evidence for a romance, it left me wanting. However, if you don't mind some cold realism and are looking for a different tone from your regencies, this was a well written if not crafted story.