by Larissa Lyons, historical/paranormal (2008)
Ellora's Cave, $4.45, ISBN 978-1-4199-1370-9
Lady Francine Montfort doesn't want to get married, so naturally, she decides that the best way to avoid her shrew of an aunt's constant matchmaking machination is to get herself faux-engaged to a most unsuitable man. Therefore, she approaches the rake Erasmus Hammond, the Marquess of Blakely, offering to pay him if he will play her fake fiancé for the rest of the season. Anyone who have read at least two historical romances with this premise will know that such a scheme is actually the best surefire way to get married but tell that to Francine.
Ensnared By Innocence follows faithfully the formula behind such a storyline, so it's pretty much straightforward and obvious where this story is heading in its first half or so. The only difference here is that Francine is not a virgin, but her past experience left her with an unpleasant impression of the intimacies of the bedroom so she's not that different.
However by the second half the author pulls out all stops by having Erasmus being some shape-shifting... thing, for the want of a better word, and Francine, far from being terrified, decides to turn into a one-woman "I'll save my man with my wholesome magic vagina!" desperado to the rescue.
Now, I have to ask, what on earth was that? It shows up out of the blue and none of the clues in the early parts of the story prepares me for the way the story plunges straight into the twilight zone in the second half. And it is then over and done with before I can blink. It is as if the author has become bored of writing a Regency-era historical romance and decides to change her story into a Christine Feehan type of story without much ado. Unfortunately, I feel that the story is too short to allow such a drastic transition of mood and setting without leaving poor old me to reel in confusion.
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