Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Missing Partner, A Rave, and Half a Lame Photo Essay

Okay, so I had hoped to have the Viking post up, but someone who shall remain nameless cough*Missie*cough hasn't mailed me her comments yet. I wonder what has happened to her? Maybe she was intimidated by my wit.

Maybe the daunting task of snarking an actual Viking cover finally got to her.

Whatever the reason, we'll postpone the Nordic goodness and instead tell you of a wonderful book.

You heard right. I finally liked one. Really liked. As in keeper. As in DING DING WE HAVE A WINNAH!!

My regular blog buddies know I love Jayne Ann Krentz. And I love her historical alter-ego, Amanda Quick, even more. I just finished Second Sight, and I'm pleased to tell you that AQ's back, baby. Better than ever. All the charm and mystery of her classic Victorian romances, but grown up. By that I mean, her heroine isn't a booksmart idiot.

AQ's girls all seem to be the brainy type, not quite bluestockings, but educated past the norm. But for all their intelligence, they're kind of...well, naive, maybe...hmmm. The word I guess I'm looking for is stupid. When one of her classic heroines is on a ladder getting a book from the top shelf in her library, she gets felt up by an amorous neighbor. She excuses him with a wide eyed protestation of his innocence- he was obviously letting his hand creep up her leg because he was overcome by the intellectual stimulation of their discussion of sociology! Of course he was. Heavens, I'd hate to see what a treatise on philosophy or calculus would do to him!

But the heroine of Second Sight is a little more street smart. Venetia's a photographer when the art was just starting, and photographs the collection of a group called the Arcane Society. It is highly exclusive, highly reclusive, and somewhat paranoid. When she travels to Arcane House with her camera to catalog their artifacts, she meets Gabriel Jones, the master's son and 'heir to the chair' of the Arcane Society. She is her family's sole support, and as such must guard her reputation. But for this outing, she is alone and doesn't have to worry about her aunt, sister and brother walking in on her, nor does she have to be concerned with propriety. Yep, you got it. She jumps Gabriel, who is very happy to be jumped.

Later, she reads that he died. Saddened but determined to carry on for her family, she reinvents herself as a widow, Mrs. Jones, whose husband died while on honeymoon in America. She soon becomes Society's darling and rakes in money as she takes portraits of the elite. But as you've probably guessed, Mr. Jones is not quite dead yet.

I won't go into the rest of it- you'll want to read it yourself. Suffice to say that Venetia has a paranormal talent for reading auras. Gabriel has a talent as well, and the secrets of the Arcane House founder puts them both in danger. Gabriel worries that his ability may not be a sign of man's evolution-ala X-men- but rather a throwback to a more primitive era. Venetia isn't totally happy with her 'husband' showing up and curbing her independence. Of course, they help each other find their way.

There's a reveal in the book that I didn't see coming, and I loved it. I stand up and cheer when authors can throw me a curve. And since the book is billed as "An Arcane Society Novel" one can assume there are more to come. I hope so. The first read like a Victorian X-Files, and I ate it up.

Missie, wherever you are, come back soon. If you don't, I'm sending the Vikings out to find you.


Anonymous Michelle said...

Oooh, a new book to read! Cool!!

Like you, I LOVE plot twists. Especially the ones I don't see coming.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

I know! I sooo apologize, my dear leftinthelurch Snark buddy! Things exploded in here and I have been busy with all the pieces. (And I don't mean exploded in a bad way, like my marriage exploded, or in a gross way, like something-ruptured way, just in a "I can't catch my breath because I am so busy with work and someone else at my job quit and now that makes more stuff for me to do and oh, yeah, my daughter is walking now and getting into everything and the only peace I have is when she is sound asleep" kind of way.)

I am so sorry. I will snark the Vikings very very soon **cough cough**. And by soon, I mean...well, you know what I mean.

I loved this book also. Sometimes I find that AQ's heroines can almost be interchangable from book to book, but I found Venetia quite charming and enjoyed her. And AQ's heroes? Always love them. Wouldn't mind meeting Gabriel in a dark alley....if I wasn't totally happily married, that is. Okay, wait. That sounded bad. I meant, if I wasn't married at all, not that I would meet him if I were married and not happily...okay, never mind. Am going back to work now. (Nonnit go to work! Wah!)

oh, and p.s. Robyn...has your son told you that I have called numerous times, but you have been at work? Did you get the messages or not? Will try to call you this week. Am leaving to go to my parents' on Friday and will return on Monday, so maybe I can reach you before then.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Bernita said...

Sounds like a great premise... Victorian X-files!

4:03 AM  

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