Saturday, October 23, 2010
Strickly a Book Review
A Hellion in Her Bed
by Sabrina Jeffries
Pocket Star Books Romance
4 1/2 spangles out of five
Heat: We get a couple of pretty hot scenes here, per the genre requirement.
It's so good to see Sabrina back in top form! With her new "Hellions of Halstead Hall" series, she seems imbued with crackling new enthusiasm. And when Sabrina gets enthusiastic, her readers are enthralled.
This is volume 2 of the series. If you recall Volume 1, we have five aristocratic (but broke) children of the Regency era who lost their mother and father under mysterious circumstances. Their grandmother raised them, and they have not turned out quite as she hoped. Now that she's an old woman, she declares that all five must marry within a year or she will not bequeath her wealth to them.
The mystery of Mom and Dad's murders/suicides/whatevers now gets one more set of clues as Son #2, Jarret, steps into the spotlight. His grandmother's dreams for him interfered with his own so long ago that now he takes his frustrations out by gambling incessantly. Fortunately for him, he's fairly good at it. But when Gran gets sick and makes a deal with him to take over her brewery business, he begins to rediscover a childhood passion.
Speaking of passion, here comes Annabel from up north, a brewster in her own right, as some ladies were actually allowed to be back then. She's got family problems. Big family problems. And like Jarret, she faces the possibility of her brewery going under before long—but with her, every hope of her family retaining any money at all will be lost.
There's a positive crescendo of sparks between the hero and heroine, who are held back by one of those awful Family Secrets from grabbing their happiness straight off.
The pacing on this is speedy. It's one of those books where you have to drag yourself into work each morning because you stayed up far too late the previous night reading. The plot works extremely well, and there are character complications that can only arise when characters have multiple layers, as they do here. Plus the 12-year-old boy who appears seems to be an actual 12-year-old boy, and not one of those angelic little kid-a-trons that one so often finds in fiction.
Pack up this one in your reticule and take it somewhere where you can settle with a lovely cup of tea to peruse it at leisure! Next up will be Minerva, the scandalous novel writer of the family. Can't wait!