I am in a dilemma. See, I am not sure if I can rate this book a two or a three. I initially bought this book when I read the excerpt on Shana Galen’s site and was immediately captivated by the plot. Unfortunately, I was a little bit disappointed about the whole plot.
The story starts off with Warrick Fitzhugh, an ex-spy, who is looking for a traitor out to get the Diamonds in the Rough, an elite spy team during the Napoleon wars, which he is a member of. His search for the traitor leads him to Maggie, aka Fallon, The Marchioness of Mystery, a courtesan and hailed as one of the Three Diamonds of the demimonde. He sneaks into her room and when he meets her there, sparks immediately fly between them. Fallon is blackmailed into assisting in finding the traitor in exchange for keeping her real identity a secret. Both go into spy mode and dig into the underbelly to smoke out the killer. It is finally revealed that the assassin hired to kill Warrick is Fallon’s father who she thought she killed when she was 15. In the end, both of them defeat Joseph Bayley (Fallon’s father) however it is still unknown who the traitor is.
Initially, I enjoyed the book a lot. I loved the mystery and the action woven into the whole story and I enjoyed the chemistry between the two protagonists. Unfortunately, I also have to say that I was puzzled by Warrick’s true purpose in asking for Fallon’s help. It seemed like Galen wrote in that Warrick just wanted Fallon with him as bait to use against Joseph Bayley! That doesn’t sound like a hero to me! Not only that but he dragged Fallon around Seven Dials in the dead of the night for no apparent reason at all. I felt that those excursions were only written in to add contact between the two characters and Fallon’s role did not really serve a significant purpose. I also thought that Warrick was the real reason why Fallon was in danger in the first place! In fact, if he didn’t drag her around with him, she would have been safe and her father would have not abducted her. Because of this, I felt that that Warrick was not a true gentleman at all.
I did give Galen points in writing in each of the character’s back story; most especially Warricks PTSD. I loved reading about the flashbacks which made me understand Warrick. I also enjoyed the steamy scenes between the two. All scenes were nicely written and did not feel tawdry at all.
I also thought the end a bit too abrupt and too convenient. It was also stated by Lady Sinclair (the lady who rescued Fallon from the streets) that Warrick’s brother would not accept Fallon and was very rigid in her views and yet, she easily accepted her into the family! I would not want there to be another villain in the story but please, I thought she would have been to aristocratic to accept a courtesan to the family! Warrick’s father, accepting him was also too convenient. In fact, they had a prior encounter before the ball and he had already given Warrick his ultimatum that he would not accept a courtesan into the family and then he turned a full 360 degrees and went ahead and accepted Fallon with open arms. What? *scratches head*
Another thing that bothered me was right after Warrick spoke with his father, he avoided Fallon and did not let her know that their plans to attend the ball together were still on. He WAS thinking about marrying the girl his family had arranged for him and DID NOT plan on taking Fallon with him (despite him proclaiming that he loved her and will take her to meet his parents) until the last possible minute! In Fallon’s defense, she did go without Warrick as a guest of Lady Sinclair where she found Warrick dancing in the arms of another woman! And to top it off, she immediately forgave him just like that! *sigh*
The end also gives us a hint as to the third installment of the series would be about. We also see quite a few scenes of Lily in this book and I have a rough idea as to what she is.
All in all, it is a fun read but not worth purchasing a book for. I may or may not read the next book in the series.