Book ReviewOtherwise Engaged

Reviewer's Rating: 
Don't you hate a fence sitter, and yet, this is where this book falls, not bad but not great.
JP Putnam's Sons, 2014

One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight.  Yet Amity  Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile threats into her ear.  Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon save her - for now.

The monster known as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds Amity inflected, is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge.  The gossip about their hours alone in a ship's stateroom has crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could.  Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him - not just because she saved his life.

For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, escape is always an option, but each intends to end the Bridegroom's reign of terror so they join forces.  As they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings neither of them can run away from...

I have always loved Amanada Quick's historical fiction romance/suspense novels and yet, this one felt tired to me.  A few old tricks have resurfaced such as a 'fake engagement' wherein the male hero proposes for the sake of society but his real intention is to sway the female heroine to marry him.  I've been there, done that perhaps one too many times with previous novels by Amanda.  

My second disappointment surrounds the main characters themselves.  Different name but same reuseable goods - same cut of the jacket, same funds in the coffer, same detached intelligent and logical pairing.
Where this novel earned my fence sitting status was the modern idea injected that women can defend themselves - a fan as a weapon was a refreshing, sprucing up on the tried and true setting.  As was the Bridegroom monster who provided some complex writing to bury him well in society without obvious links to find him.
There is a slight hint at the closing of the novel that there might be more spy work in the future for the couples involved.  I would certainly be interested in reading another installment with this group now that the business of forming it is complete.  If this is the case, I can hope that Otherwise Engaged reads flat because it is merely a foundation for better books ahead.

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