Monday, 11 March 2013

Book Review: Surprising Lord Jack by Sally MacKenzie

Surprising Lord Jack
Author: Sally MacKenzie 
Format: Paperback (352 pages), Ebook (351 pages)
Publisher: Zebra
Publish Date: March 2013

Blurb from
Dowry? She'll have to go to London herself and knock some sense into the men interfering in her life. With the nonsense she's dealt with lately, though, there's no way she's going as a woman. A pair of breeches and a quick chop of her red curls, and she'll have much less to worry about. 
Jack Valentine, third son of the famous "Duchess of Love", is through being pursued by pushy young ladies. One particularly determined Miss has run him out of his own house party. Luckily the inn has one bed left - Jack just has to share with a rather entertaining red-headed youth. Perhaps the two of them should ride to London together. It will make a pleasant escape from his mother's matchmaking melodrama!

My Review:

This is the first of Sally MacKenzie's books I've read. The blurb of this book is certainly intriguing, I rather enjoy mistaken identity regency romps. After learning of her aunt's plans to marry her to the reprehensible Littleton, the headstrong Miss Frances Hadley sets off to London disguised as a boy. She hopes to visit her twin brother Frederick and engage his help to live independently. Along the way she meets Lord Jack, with a reputation as a rake, he is a most unsuitable companion for a lady- but he thinks she's a boy.
This of course, can only lead to a scandal!

The plot line was very enjoyable. It didn't take itself too seriously, and was injected with plenty of lively humour and amusing situations. Lord Jack was practically perfect- handsome, the son of a duke, kind and charitable; despite his undeserved reputation as a rake.

Unfortunately I found Frances too unlikeable for stretches of the book. She has a deep dislike of men- somewhat understandable considering her father and brother. She's extremely wary of Jack- again understandable given his reputation. I know she's meant too be headstrong and independent but sometimes it felt like too much and I became very irritated by her. Even when she sees plenty of evidence that Jack is not as she first thought, it takes her a long time before she admits to herself that he's not like her father. While she has never had a good male figure in her life, her idea that men in general are unreliable, callous liars is kind of irrational.

Having said all this, she does grow and develop- particularly in the second half of the book. We see her softer side, and how lonely and afraid she has been.
I enjoyed the added mystery and drama as Jack tried to solve the Slasher murders. It wasn't until near the end that I realised who the killer probably was.
Jack and Frances' romance when it truly began was sweet, but there was a distinct lack of romance in the first half as he thought she was a boy and she was desperately trying to maintain her disguise.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was entertaining and the romance was sweet as Jack brought out the best in Frances. But Frances' irritating pigheadedness stops me from giving this 4 hearts, but it's better than 3 hearts. So I'll settle for 3 and a half.

I received a copy of the book via Netgalley, from the publisher for an honest review.

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