Reviewed by Tori
For Lady Primrose Wootten nothing has been ordinary since her father the Baron died and his wayward family filled the estate with greed and treachery. Primrose knows if she can just track down her brother, he can send the odious relations on their way. But instead she finds this enormous, powerful stranger, and forgets entirely what she was doing in the first place…
Sir Bened Vaughn isn’t much afraid of a pistol. But he is a bit afraid of the woman holding it, who stirs up something so primal he’s not sure he can shake it off. Vaughn is an honorable man, and he knows he has no right to desire Primrose. Yet he does have an obligation to help her, and as they learn more about her brother’s disappearance, he realizes that means staying by her side…wanting her all the while… and wondering how much longer they can resist temptation…(Goodreads)
If’s He’s Noble is the seventh installment of Ms. Howell’s ambitious Wherlocke series. An entertaining and somewhat dark series that uses love, humor, heroism, revenge, and a wee bit of the supernatural to guide our hero and heroine past adversity and into true love. Action and suspense go hand in hand as two souls come together to stop a mad woman from further destroying a family’s life. This can be read as a stand alone and you do not have to read the others in order to appreciate this story, though previous heroes and heroines drift in and out of the story at random intervals.
Though this series is normally dark in terms of conflict and characterization, this particular installment is lighter than the others I’ve read. I wish I could say this story blew me away me, but I cannot. An interesting premise that never seems to quite gain a strong foothold. The best I can say is that it is vaguely amusing. The protagonists are nice. The plots and subplots are slow to produce and quite predictable. The resolution is understated and anti climatic. Even the villain, who is said to be insane, comes off more ridiculous than scary. There is no sense of adventure within the plot as one would suspect from this series; only mild intrigue. No real anticipation or excitement. I knew from the beginning what the end would be.
Our main protagonists, Lady Primrose Wootten and Sir Bened Vaughn are calm, rational, good-natured souls with a quiet dry wit about them. They meet by chance, with Primrose lost in the woods trying to find her spectacles and horse. She is on her way to find her brother as her father, the Baron has passed away, and her aunt and uncle want to marry her off to an old man in order to gain her inheritance. Bened is a bodyguard, hired to protect the nobility’s heirs. He has just finished up a job in which he is awarded a title and an estate. He meets up with Primrose in the woods on his way to his estate and after hearing her tale of woo has decided he is honor bound to help her. His attraction to her is just a bonus. All very amicable. And that pretty much sums up the entire tale. Amicable. I found neither of them were well rounded or particularly deep. Howell uses more than half the book to build their romance while building up the conflict alongside. Any conflicts, either personal or plotwise, were resolved quickly with little fuss.
Their attraction to one another is well documented and that was part of my issues with the book as a whole. Howell writes very well but the emotions didn’t transcribe the written word. We spend more time being told every thought, emotion, etc…then feeling what has happened. Their chemistry is more like two old friends who become lovers then a passionate new affair. It’s all very comfortable. Each alludes to it with the proper listing of pros and cons of entering into a relationship with one another. Everything about them and the situation as a whole is so well-mannered and civilised.
It’s only when the other characters come into play does the excitement levels pick up. The Whitlockes and Vaughns are a rambunctious group whose gifts and amusing eccentricities offer a respite from the overall blandness. They are a large and unusual family and Howell continues to expand on the two families with each new book. The inclusion of the supernatural is just as potent as always but in here seems to stay in the background, adding to the characters natural inclines without being used as a catchall to save the day. Primrose’s brother Simone had some backbone to him that proved interesting and I enjoyed meeting Primrose’s Uncle Gregory and his partner Frederick. Howell adds a bit of spice to the series by introducing this couple and their relationship.
Overall this was not my favorite in this series. I expected the usual shock and awe and instead felt barely felt a tinge. Regardless, I look forward to the next in the series, if only to see if this one was an anomaly.
Overall Rating: C-