Reviewed by May
As the editor/owner of The Hawk’s Eye, Eleanor Hawke is no stranger to scandal. She lives to share the exploits of the ton through her gossip rag, and rakes in the profits while doing so. So when Daniel Balfour, a notorious scoundrel of an Earl walks in her office with an offer she can’t refuse what is a good writer to do? She follows him of course, on adventures and into places she never dreamed of seeing. As you can imagine Daniel has secrets, and Eleanor must make choices about the Earl and what to print…
Eva Leigh is a new pen name for the author many of us have known and loved as Zoe Archer. What I loved most about Archer’s books was the rich, strong female characters and the sense of adventure. I miss that adventure in this book, though it does have plenty going on. From the smoldering chemistry between Eleanor and Daniel to seeing the ton through the eyes of a reporter firmly on the outside – this book never had a dull moment.
“Can you waltz?” he asked with heat and intimacy, as though asking if she was a virgin.
“I can,” she answered. A candid admission of her own carnal wisdom. His jaw tightened.
They took their positions. His hand at her waist, hers on his shoulder, their other hands clasped. His body snug against hers. As they’d been in the hallway. Only this time, they were in full view of dozens of other people.
A new thrill pulsed through her. Experienced, she might be, but not in this way. They were making bold and overt statements to themselves, and to everyone, about what they wanted from each other.
The music began and they started to move.
“He leaned down and whispered in her ear, “You’re now part of the story.”
Indeed, Eleanor is used to being an invisible person, a spectator, and lives her life for her business. I really enjoyed watching her face her fears and become part of something more, living life and experiencing adventures vs simply watching and waiting from the sidelines. I also really loved how each character has good qualities and value that the other respects and admires. This balance of capable and awesome individuals was really a treat as so often we are told especially in historical romances that a character is smart/great/etc. but we don’t actually see that in action.
Overall this is a strong romance, and one I really enjoyed. This is an author incredibly talented in writing the full range of emotion and delivers everything from heat to action to tender moments. The only reason I won’t be giving it an A is because it was lacking that undefinable factor that really brings a story all together for me. While I enjoyed it, in review just a few short weeks later I can’t recall specific details or moments that stood out. I don’t recall how they ended up making it all work or who compromised first.
This isn’t a big deal, just an explanation as to why this was a moderate and not a raging success in my book. I look forward to more by this author – whatever pen name she chooses I will be there to check it out. Weak heroines are such an annoyance, and she always delivers characters I root for and want as friends. That in and of itself is something to cheer for and want more of from romance authors.