Thursday, 24 March 2016

Book Review: To Love, Honour, and Obey by Valerie Holmes

Title: To Love, Honour and Obey
Author: Valerie Holmes
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication Date: 2015 
Pages: 212

Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

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The year is 1805.

Six years ago, Willoughby Rossington’s father was murdered while searching for the kingpin of a smuggling and spy ring. Taken under the wing of his uncle, who is running a counter-intelligence operation against Napoleon’s spies, Willoughby is assigned to take up his father’s last mission—and, hopefully, in the process find who killed his father and bring them to justice.

He encounters a young woman, Beth, who works at the local inn. Her spark and resilience against her master’s attempts to break her will strike a chord in him and he, albeit reluctantly, takes her with him when he leaves town.

As they begin to talk, he finds out that her master is more involved in the ring that could have been thought. She overheard things and knows things about the seedy side of villages that could be helpful to him and his mission.

Though Beth hasn’t had the opportunity for education, she’s smart and quite cunning while still maintaining a child-like wonder. Even as Willoughby makes plans to set her up with a family in order to protect her from the perils of his mission, he finds himself a bit melancholy at the thought of losing her company.

Beth is having none of it. She knows she can be of help to Willoughby and isn’t going to be left behind now that she’s found someone nice. Part on purpose, part because of fate, their two lives become intertwined as they race against the villains that plot to destroy them both.

Will they uncover the truth behind the smuggling ring and find who is responsible for the death of Willoughby’s father?

Can they stay safe as they continue to work their way deeper into the ring?
(Goodreads Synopsis)

To Love, Honour and Obey was fun in many respects. The story and characters held my interest throughout, and it was a quick, easy read. However, I cannot bring myself to give more than three stars, because certain things put me off.

I found the choice of name--Willoughby--distracting. It's an unusual name and already has one famous owner from a story set in a similar time period. Thus, my thoughts kept turning to Sense and Sensibility every single time his name was mentioned. I also found the characters rather modern in the way they interacted and spoke, and in the opinions they expressed, which contrasted with the period setting the author established through clothing, transportation etc.

I found it difficult to completely believe in the budding romance between the two characters too. For me, it made sense on one side but not the other.

Nonetheless, it was still a enjoyable way to pass a couple of evenings and should appeal to fans of light historical fiction who enjoy a little adventure in their stories.

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