Our heroine, Jacobin de Chastelux, is really fun. Why? She’s a wonderful pastry cook and can make ‘little puffy things’. She’s French. She curses in French like a sailor. And she has a gay friend. These are just some of the things that make for a wonderfully unique heroine – and she was so unique that I even forgave her the mild temper tantrums that didn’t make sense and the occasional character slips. Her fiery personality was setting off sparks all throughout the book, and I loved it.
Our hero, Lord Anthony Storrington, is not as likeable. You may like him just fine, but I found him a bit too… spoiled for my tastes. Everything in his life was about how it affected him. I was annoyed at his reluctance to befriend his obviously kind sister. He always wanted Jacobin to wait on him (even after he knows her true identity – explanation follows), sometimes in ways not pertaining to her servant station. His actions are generally self-serving, almost throughout the entire book. As you well know, a boring or selfish hero breaks a book and Lord Storrington, while still sexy and sometimes quite nice, didn’t quite sit right with me.
Jacobin is a lady who runs away from her guardian (her Uncle) after he loses her in a card game to Lord Storrington. She is hired as a pastry chef (she’s a good one) in the Prince’s kitchens, where she is disguised as a man. When a poisoning occurs, she is forced to flee due to suspicion that might reveal her true identity. She is rehired as a woman, Jane Castle, in Lord Storrington’s kitchens. Thus, romance ensues. I shan’t tell you more or I’ll spoil it for you, but the plot basically revolves around the investigator getting closer and closer to discovering Jane’s true identity as he tries to solve the attempted murder.
The plot was decent overall, as long as you aren’t a reader who wants to wallow strictly in reality. Some of the events, like Jacobin pretending to be a male in the kitchen for almost a year and getting away with it, push the bounds of reality but I found it made the story more fun and more interesting. There was, however, a part of the plot Neville could’ve dropped out. I found the whole “My-mother-had-an-affair-and-then-killed-herself-ruining-my-life-so-I’m-going-to-get-revenge-on-the-man-who-banged-her” thing Storrington had going on was a bit ridiculous. I was happy enough to wade through some of the fantasy of the plot, I even got caught up in some of the whimsy of hidden identities and all that – but that silliness really ruined some of the book for me and made out Storrington to be a big baby who can't think like a rational adult.
“I am delighted to meet you, Jane Castle. I perceive that you are as precious as an apricot in November. I’ll give you a kiss in exchange for one.” (Master James to Jacobin)
“You’re not to go near the man. In fact, I’ll ride out tomorrow and choke the truth out of him.” (Anthony)“I’m coming with you,” Jacobin said.
“No you’re not. You will stay here with Kitty.”
“No! I want to choke Edgar too.”
“Choking is a man’s work. I’m bigger and stronger.”
“I’m very strong. I could choke him just as well as you.”
“But I’m bigger. Size matters,” Anthony said, with a shake of his head, “When it comes to choking, I mean.”
“Sexy”ness rating: Cute and fun and a little bit kinky with whipped cream and a little bondage (just in case you’re concerned it’s all very light - more creative, less serious kink).
Overall Rating: B-
Bottom Line: The heroine makes the book worth reading, her personality is that unique and I love that she’s French. Our hero… we could do without.
Published: February 19, 2009