For about ten years, this book represented the end of Rick & Sam's story, and I think it was a good finale. The romance gets to a resting place that serves as a HEA, the conflict is crazy over the top (and will make it hard to match), and the characters have come a long way in the chronological year since they met in Flirting With Danger.
I'm pretty excited that this isn't the end of Rick & Sam's story, though, so I'll be reviewing Barefoot in the Park next week after its released. I'll be holding off my on series review until I've read the final book.
I really love this book. It's my second favorite in the series--my idea of favorite is for readability factor--the plot is just a smidge less entertaining than Billionaires Prefer Blondes, but the stakes are about as high as Flirting with Danger.
We find Sam returning to the idea that she could help museums recover stolen artificacts--which would allow her to use her black hat expertise and skills on behalf of the white hats. Rick is less enthusiastic since he knows it might bring Sam danger from thwarting other thieves, and the two conflict over how much danger she should put herself in and what lines she should break. Sam also investigates the theft of Donner daughter Olivia's anatomy project which allows the mood to be a bit lighter in some areas.
The plot of Sam working in museum recover doesn't just bring her conflict with Rick, it also brings conflict with her surrogate father, Stoney. Stoney isn't in this book much (which is a plot point) and his absence is keenly felt. Stoney was left interested in retiring than Sam and this factor remains a thorn in their relationship. Aubrey plays a bigger supporting role here and I find him really entertaining.
One of the small recurring bits about Rick and Sam arguing about Aubrey's sexuality hasn't really aged very well. They go back and forth based on what trait Aubrey exhibits as part of one "team" or another. This was definitely more common a decade ago, so I'm not taking any points off. I have high hopes that it won't show up in the next Rick & Sam books because it's really just not funny.
It's like watching the Chandler jokes on Friends about whether or not he was gay -- and yeah, that was funny in the 1990s. It's just not anymore. Like I said, I'm not going to take any points in this last 2007 outing. I just hope it's gone going forward.
The new cast of possible museum thieves bring us some interesting supporting characters, and Wild Bill Tombs is...colorful. I also like that Kate and Tom are back--their normalcy is such a lovely contrast to Sam and Rick--and their kids are great too. Olivia reminds me of my own niece, Olivia.
This was a great finale to the series, but I am so excited to see where Rick & Sam go next.
The plot with Wild Bill basically stalking Sam is creepy AF and I'm glad that everyone involved handled it that way. Stoney continuing to contract with Wild Bill for Sam to steal for him is super not okay, and it drives me crazy that Stoney didn't tell anyone that a member of Palm Beach society came in and asked for Sam by name to steal for him once she had gone straight.
That being said, Sam and Rick's reaction were very much in character, and I'm a big fan of Aubrey taking care of business. I loved the increased role Aubrey played here, down to his part in stealing the armor back from the Picaults. I was happy to see Frank come back and to see that Sam is playing a little bit more fair with him.
I am a little nervous to read about how Sam reacts to actually being engaged. I get why Rick proposed when he did but I'm not super thrilled at the same time. Sam basically ran from the entire idea all during the book and then agreed when the adrenaline and fear was running high. When this book was the finale one in the series, I could just pretend it would all be okay, but I suspect, if Sam holds true to character, it's going to be a rocky engagement.
It didn't bother me that Sam was so against the idea of marriage--she's just kind of found a cruising point with the entire relationship, and now Rick is changing it. Sam doesn't do well with change or with situations she can't easily run away from. I get why Rick wants to get married. He has responsibilities in Britain that mean his children have to be legitimate and born in wedlock, but I don't know. I wonder if they would have benefited from one straight conversation about it. I hope we get that in the next book.
The conflict between Rick and Sam continues to be over their respective lines, and it's clear by the end of the book, Rick is a lot closer to Sam's line between right and wrong, which is good and shows growth. I'm interested to see where this conflict goes in the future, because I imagine if they ever did have children, it would change things.
Love this series -- we're so close to the next book!
A Touch of Minx (Samantha Jellicoe, #5)
Overall Response For about ten years, this book represented the end of Rick & Sam's story, and I think it was a good finale. The romance gets to a resting place that serves as a HEA, the ...