by Kathy Davie
Fifth in the Hellions of Halstead Hall historical romance series revolving around the Sharpe siblings and the demand their grandmother made of them.
Part of me wants to make it a “4” because it is a good story; the other side of me is too annoyed…so it’s a “3”.
Well, the mystery part of it was interesting and I do like strong characters. However, I also like an historical story to pay attention to the time period. It’s fashions, manners, mores, and language. Jeffries hasn’t done that with this story or this series. Oh, to be fair, she’s been picking and choosing what to use and what to abandon. Whatever is most convenient. The least work. My irritation with this keeps me from really enjoying the story.
If it were a contemporary romance, I probably would have enjoyed it more, except that many of the issues in the story wouldn’t be relevant. So, what it comes down to is Jeffries has been very lazy and rolling with the flow—IMO. She’s also set up some interesting, tension-producing issues that she…lets roll with the flow as well. Except for the ambush. That was rather good until Jeffries let that one slide through as well. At least the tensions between Lady Celia and Jackson have some basis in reality. Silly, but realistic.
At least we did finally discover the truth behind that day when the Sharpes’ parents died. As well as the identity of Jackson’s father. Makes you appreciate the contemporary approach to births out of wedlock.
Under the guise of Oliver’s birthday party, Lady Celia has managed invitations for the Earl of Devonmount, the Duke of Lyons, and Fernandez Valdez, the Visconde de Basto, to give them all an opportunity to flirt with Celia and for her to assess their marital intentions. Gran’s deadline is approaching and Celia must find someone. It would certainly speed things up if Pinter would investigate them for suitability, scandal, and, well, information that will help her win one of them.
Only, it’s a task that Jackson Pinter hates. He wants Lady Celia too much himself and his station in life is too far below hers. It doesn’t stop him dreaming, though, even as he continues to sift through the few clues. Nor are his thoughts as hidden as he hopes. His aunt, Gran, Celia’s siblings…all see what he tries to hide just as they see Celia’s interest. But neither of the truly interested parties have the faintest idea that the other has fallen in love. And, pride does so get in the way…
Lady Celia is the last of the unmarried Sharpe siblings and a sharpshooter. She’s more comfortable behind a rifle than a fan and she has begun to wonder if that is holding potential suitors back. If she doesn’t marry in the next two months, Gran will cut them all off. And if there’s one thing Celia refuses to do, it’s marry just for money. Rock. Hard place.
Jackson Pinter is a Bow Street Runner with a private commission from Lord Oliver and Gran to discover what really happened that day all those years ago when their parents died. He’s also on the fast track to becoming Chief Magistrate. Provided there are no scandals to impede his progress… Now Lady Celia has hired him to investigate her potential suitors. Aunt Ada Pinter Norris is all he has left of his family now. We do learn Jackson’s backstory. Oh, lord, it’s a sad one.
Oliver Sharpe is the ninth Marquess of Stoneville and married to Maria (Truth About Lord Stoneville). Lord Jarret has taken over managing the brewery; it’s how he met his wife, Anabel (A Hellion in her Bed
). Giles Masters is a barrister married to Lady Minerva Sharpe, er, Mrs. Masters (How to Woo a Reluctant Lady). Mrs. Hester Plumtree, Gran, owns the Plumtree Brewery which generated all that lovely lolly that attracted their father’s attention to their mother. Hetty and General Isaac Waverly‘s romance seems to be gathering steam as well. Then there’s Lord Gabriel with his wife Virginia (To Wed a Wild Lord).
Pierce Waverly is the Earl of Devonmount and Virginia’s cousin; his romance is coming up I suspect. Desmond is the Sharpes’ uncle; Ned is his twisty, nasty son.
Major (he was a Captain back then) and Mrs. Rawdon were there that weekend. Elise was her maid. Too late they discover the connection between the recently murdered Benny May, their former head groom. Mrs. Duffett is the siblings’ old nurse and Jackson and Lady Celia believe she may be able to shed some light.
It’s reds and peaches—Celia quickly twisting in her red dress against a peachy sky with an archery butt in the distance.
Lady Celia is determined that A Lady Never Surrenders to pressure.