Trials of Artemisby Sue London
Series: The Haberdashers #1
Published on May 12, 2013 by Graythorn Publishing
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
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Loving Lord Lucifer...
An independent bluestocking sneaks into a library to read rare Greek texts and ends up with a husband instead.
Jacqueline “Jack” Walters loves archery and Greek military history. In her third season she has failed to inspire so much as one marriage proposal and is planning to settle into the quiet life of a spinster.
Gideon Wolfe, Earl of Harrington, has been avoiding marriage but a case of mistaken identity in the library has left him saddled with an argumentative and unwilling fiancee.
For a free Nook book through Barnes & Noble, my expectations for this book may have been a bit too high. The innocent young woman is compromised by a rake and forced into an unwanted marriage. Pretty standard. Moving on. Said young woman is a Habadasher, one of three women who banded together in their youth to have their version of a “boy’s club.” Now you’ve caught my attention.
So where did it fall short?
I loved the idea of these characters. Jacqueline, a.k.a. Jack, was the intelligent, fiery heroine I always enjoy in romances. She knows how to use a number of weapons, reads ancient Greek, and has a mouth that doesn’t know when to stay shut sometimes. And sometimes I saw all of this. Not all the time. Just sometimes. Gideon, her rakish new husband was quite the opposite of that. Indeed, he was caught with her in a compromising position but instead of causing strain on their shotgun marriage by whoring around, he was honorable about the entire situation. I found this at odds with the background we’re given of him, but I enjoyed the change from the reformed scoundrel trope.
The story revolved around their romance up until the end. London took her time developing their relationship from the bottom up. It made their romance a tad more believable, if tedious with the same situations coming up over and over again. But I appreciated the time spent on the two of them together. And there were, of course, some lovely passionate scenes to steam things up a bit.
Let’s swing back to Jack. I think London wanted this character but instead of really bringing her personality to light, I was told what Jack is like and expected to believe that when instead, this leading lady wasn’t quite so strong and turned into an emotional wreck for half the novel. And Gideon was quite abusive verbally, dictating Jack’s life but in the I-want-to-hate-your-character sort of way.
There were a few other characters that didn’t quite sit right, like Gideon’s friend Quince. For someone who supposedly is so close to the earl, Quince did a complete 180 at the end of the story and not for the better. Suddenly he is attempting to sabotage the marriage he originally hoped for at the beginning. I was convinced up until this point that he leaked the secret of Jack and Gideon’s initial meeting to the society papers — the reason behind the overnight marriage. After that, I wasn’t sure if he truly was Gideon’s friend or not which was a shame since I liked his character up until that point.
I also missed out on the Haberdashers. They’re mentioned over and over as being a key part of Jack’s life, yet George never makes an appearance and Sabre is introduced only briefly and almost more for comedic value than anything. Yet in that short amount of time I think her character was more true to what Jack provided than Jack was to her own “fiery” nature. While I know the two remaining Haberdasher women get their own novels later in the series, I wanted to see their presence within the story since they came up so often.
While this book had its faults, nothing struck me as truly terrible.
As far as romances go, I thought this was a good start to a series. The relationship is sweet, and sometimes downright hot, though I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re looking for that extra lusty kick. But overall, it was a good read and had me hooked from start to finish.