Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lord Perfect and other books by Ms. Chase

The first time I picked up a book by Loretta Chase was about three years ago in Cairo. We were there for Christmas and New Year holiday and the books I brought with me didn't suit my mood at the time. I found her writing light and witty, not the kind of historical romances that would go on and on with endless descriptive paragraphs which makes you skip three pages until you get to the main point. No, you don’t find much of that in Loretta Chase's books. The book which I bought was called Mr. Impossible : Egypt in 1821 is not a safe place for foreigners. So when her brother, Miles, disappears, Daphne Pembroke immediately goes to the British Consulate for help. What Daphne gets is Rupert Carsington. At first Daphne is quite vexed with the idea of being saddled with this cheerful blockhead, but she soon realizes that since she is clever, all she really needs is a big, strong man who will follow orders. As Daphne and Rupert set out in search of Miles, and a missing papyrus that may hold the key to a pharaoh's long-lost tomb, Daphne begins to suspect that she may have underestimated not only Rupert's intelligence but also her own susceptibility to his devilish charms. A bookish, sharp-tongued heroine with a passion for hieroglyphics discovers an all-together different kind of passion in this supremely satisfying and thoroughly romantic tale. Chase's subtly nuanced characters and deftly plotted story come together brilliantly, and her polished writing is imbued with a wicked wit. What was fascinating about the whole book, was when we were in Egypt (it was the whole touristic exploration kind of trip) we took the same route along the Nile as it was written in the book and made the same stops. We even went into unchartered places with shady characters to explore tombs which were found under old houses in remote villages. For me it was like living in two alternate realities one in the past and the other in the present. The historical facts I got from the book astonished the guides we had with us.
Abdulaziz...in front of King Tut's tombe at the Valley of the Kings
(They wouldn't let us take a pic of King Tut )
I remember every time my sister called me I was in some kind of tomb or in a museum or a library. "I hope I don't call you tomorrow and find you buried in one of them!" I recall her saying to me. Abdulaziz had the time of his life. It was one of the best Exploration trips I had in a long while and en famille, and I hope to repeat it again when Ahmed is a bit older. One of the reasons why this book is one of my favorite I was at the same place where the story took place, besides it is romantic and very funny! Then a year ago I picked up Miss Wonderful, which was originally the first book in the series: Due to his history of expensive romantic entanglements, Alistair Carsington now has six months to find either a useful occupation or a wealthy heiress to wed. To prove he is not an idle fop only concerned with sartorial pleasures, Alistair agrees to help his old friend, Lord Gordmor, by traveling to the wilds of Derbyshire to convince Gordmor's neighbors to support the nobleman's proposal to build a canal. Upon arriving, Alistair, a famous war hero and eligible bachelor, finds everyone couldn't be nicer, everyone except for respectable, practical, spinsterish Mirabel Oldridge. The last thing Mirabel wants is for her tranquil little corner of England to be destroyed by a noisy, nasty canal, and she is prepared to use every weapon at her disposal--including her disheveled coiffure and unstylish wardrobe--to stop Alistair. This book I found it a bit exasperating although it had its moments. Not to be missed though. This weekend I was in the mood of some historical romance. But I didn't want the tedious kind of books, which will make me skip pages just to get to the interesting parts. I remembered I had a third book by Ms. Chase and picked it up. Lord Perfect: Benedict Carsington, Viscount Rathbourne, is in perfect control of his life until he meets Bathsheba, one of the "Dreadful DeLuceys." One encounter with the lovely widow, and he begins to wonder if his life is not so much perfect as boring. Benedict is certain that he can resist becoming involved with her, but he soon finds himself hiring Bathsheba to teach drawing to his nephew, Peregrine Dalmay. Then Bathsheba's impetuous daughter, Olivia, convinces Peregrine to join her quest to find the DeLucey family pirate treasure, forcing Benedict to become even more entangled with Bathsheba. As the two set off across England to retrieve the wayward young fortune hunters, Benedict is forced to admit that he is not as immune to the tart-tongued Bathsheba as he would like to think. It was an amazing read, very light, funny and romantic. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time. I loved the characters and their relationship and the ending was satisfying, although I wanted more. Since I ignored my family for the past two days I can safely say I highly recommend Ms. Chase's books. The fourth book in the series is called Not Quiet a Lady, I still haven't read it yet, Maybe by next weekend, inshallah. The fifth book, is coming out the end of July and it is about Peregrine and Olivia, the brats in Lord Perfect.

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