by Kim Bennet, historical (2000)
LoveSpell, $5.50, ISBN 0-505-52363-9
Thomas Wentworth is one lucky sod. Really, he is born under the Wentworth Luck, which means he is always lucky. Until while on a Big Mission to Scotland, he almost got killed by our heroine Fia Maclean. Fia is trying to escape from an unwanted suitor, and she has big dreams of becoming the next William Shakespeare.
Even worse, Thomas mistakes her as a courtesan and agrees to take her along to London. And worse, he and she get discovered in a compromising situation - his hand at where it shouldn't be, and it's time for them to get married.
He isn't too keen to get married, no matter how pawable he finds her, and she, well, she's half in love with him already. So she tries to get Thomas' buddy Robert McQuarrie to play her loving Other Man during their voyage to London to get Thomas all jealous. It works, but now arises complications - what to do about Robert, what to do about a Queen's letter, and what to do about the whole marriage thing.
Thing is, like The Abduction Of Julia, which the author wrote under the name Karen Hawkins, this book has characters that are very lightweight - it is very easy to lose focus on them. Fia suffers the most as a heroine who falls for Thomas too quick, too fast without any credible reason except that he's cute and bonny and hale.
And Thomas lacks depth as a hero, I'm afraid. He's too much of the typical rake whose reasons for finally falling for Fia seem to stem from physical attraction and oh yes, there's her sad family story too. Very little is devoted to the development of his relationship with Fia. Come to think of it, Fia and Thomas barely progress from who they are from page 1 onwards by the epilogue.
However, the humor runs free and easy, and I laugh at a few spots here and there. The over-reliance on the running joke that Thomas' luck has run out gets tiring after a while - come on, where is the emotional intensity? - but when it works, it works like a charm.
What is sorely needed in One Lucky Lord is some deep, meaningful characterizations. Without deep, memorable characters, One Lucky Lord remains little more than a mere average and pretty enjoyable read that lacks any deeper substance.
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