by Amelia Grey, historical (2004)
Berkley, $6.99, ISBN 0-425-19802-2
Apart from the hero's name, there is very little in Amelia Grey's A Hint Of Seduction that generates anything remotely resembling a spark with me. There is a "So what?" feel to the story. The author's storytelling style doesn't draw me into the story or make me care for the characters. Everything about this book feels like it's merely going through the motions.
John Wickenham-Thickenham-Fines (is it just me or is there something dirty about that name?), our hero, is charmed when he meets a stunning beauty whose horse collides with his one early morning. He's in the middle of a race to settle a disagreement about whether or not he should have married his opponent's sister, she's on her way to get help from a groom who has encountered an accident. She ends up "borrowing" his horse and this development ends up in Lord Truefitt's gossip column that sends everyone atwitter about John's horse being stolen by that woman.
She is Catherine Reynolds who is in London supposedly for her season when all she wants is to look for her biological father whose existence she only learned recently from her mother's journals. As John Wicky-Thicky-Fines pursues her, she realizes that he may be her half-brother!
The characters are tried and true stereotypes. John is the usual rake hero with a reputation while Catherine is the one who insists on not marrying at first due to the terrible examples of marriage she has seen and later not wanting to marry for anything but love. The secondary characters are equally familiar. The problem with A Hint Of Seduction however isn't just in that it is so predictable - it is - but also in the fact that Ms Grey seems to have given up on her story at about midway point. Catherine finds her father... and the whole subplot just peters out as if nobody really cares about the reunion. The story soon settles into a dull rut where the hero and the heroine play out a familiar dance to a very familiar song. There's a ghost in here but Ms Grey doesn't seem to know what to really do with the ghost so the poor thing pretty much just sort of hang in there in this story.
This story is so flat and lifeless both in prose and plot development that it is really as if Ms Grey stops caring about her story soon enough and just goes through the motion to get the story to the end. A Hint Of Seduction doesn't seem to care about its own story and as a result, I don't see why I should either.
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