It’ll probably be no big surprise for you to hear that I enjoyed reading The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheevers by Julia Quinn and The Pleasure Trap by Elizabeth Thornton tremendously. In fact, I reread both books a week after finishing them just to relive certain well-written scenes in both books.
In The Secret Diaries, the heroine Miranda has long been secretly in love with the older brother of her best friend, Viscount Turner, since the tender age of ten when the dashing young gent kissed her hand and solemnly promised that she would someday grow into herself and become as beautiful as she was already smart. Even as Turner’s marriage suffered and he became an embittered widower, she never stopped loving him.
Turner has always admired her intelligence, but he has become dark and broody, and cynical about the emotion called love. As he emerged from his own personal prison, he found himself intrigued by and drawn to Miranda. Being distrustful of love, he let himself be persuaded that it was just lust and desire that drove him to take her innocence and honour that make him take her to wife. How is a woman going to convince a man who doesn’t believe in love that it was really love the feel for each other? I’m not going to give the plot away here, so you’re going to have to read the book yourself.
Don’t be misled by the title of the book though. This book isn’t written in the first person journal style, and there aren’t that many diary entries if you’re the voyeuristic reader. Instead, the book is peppered with wry humourous rejoinders from Miss Cheever and Julia Quinn’s trademark of writing simple stories which touches the heart nonetheless, and entertains.
The Pleasure Trap sees some familiar characters from The Bachelor Trap playing minor supportive role while Ash Denison, whom fans of Thornton first met in The Marriage Trap, takes centrestage trying to unmask a malicious author whose recent expose in the papers has rattled quite a few members of the ton. The mission sends him to a symposium for gothic and romance writers, where he met the bold, beautiful and seemingly self-sufficient writer who rebuffed his every advance.
Eve Dearing has a secret that could shock and send potential suitors running, and her impression of Ash’s reputation as a lady killer makes her wary and even more desperate to hide her secret. However, when a fellow writer was brutally assaulted and Eve becomes the next target, Ash found himself stirred to vow that he would not only keep her safe, but he would also win her heart. Can she entrust herself and her heart to him, knowing that when he uncovers her secret, he is likely to be repulsed and change his mind?
Ms Thornton has lived up to expectations from the last book, and in fact. This last of the trio is a little more gripping for the romantic tension which she expertly built up and the unlikely killer she unleashed on the unsuspecting characters in the story. I always love a good who-dun-it mystery so this book was right up my alley. The author is obviously in her element and I can’t think of a historical romantic suspense author I’d enjoy more. After Madeline Hunter, she is my other auto-buy author, whose works I’ve read and reread countless times. So if you’re hankering after a little suspense, a little romance and a little thrilling mystery solving set in the past, you’ve simply got to give Elizabeth Thornton a try.