I have to admit that I was nervous when I put this series on my summer reading list because while I've read the other two books in this trilogy several times, I can only remember rereading this book maybe twice since the first time I read it in 2004. It didn't stick with me as well as the rest of the series.
I'm happy to say that while I still like the other two books better, this is by no means a weak story. The aspects about the plot that I was worried about -- Grant's so-called revenge -- was actually handled better than I had remembered. While the romance is a bit more superficial than I typically like, it's still pretty good.
I actually liked the journey Lisa Kleypas took Grant on -- he's a very hard character in the beginning and "Vivienne" does kind of force him to re-examine himself. Given his origin story, I can understand why he is the way he is, but I guess maybe I wish he'd been punished a bit longer.
The plot is fine -- it's a standard mystery but it's never really the focus. It's always about Grant and his confusion that Vivienne isn't acting the way he'd expected her, too.
Still, this is a good introduction to one of my favorite trilogies -- I love Bow Street Runners, and Sir Ross's book is ridiculously good (at least I remember it being good). While this book doesn't have the depth in the plot, characters, or romance that the rest of the series does, this is a good book. I really like Grant and "Vivienne" and was happy for them to get their happy ending.
I remembered that Grant lied to Victoria about his relationship with Vivienne, and I was kind of annoyed by that prospect. I'm also not super wild with the way Grant talks about Vivienne, and I would have liked some clarification on whether Grant feels this way about all courtesans or just Vivienne. Vivienne does come across as a hard, selfish woman without much of a conscience so it's easy for me to think it's just her personally Grant doesn't like.
But there's just a few times when Grant shades too close to judging Vivienne because she's had many lovers, and prizing the fact that Victoria isn't at all like her sister in that regard. It's probably the only disappointing aspect of his character. That being said, it's also just as clear that Victoria shares his opinion about courtesans because she is completely horrified by her sister's life, so in that respect they're a good a match.
I did like that once Grant admitted that he'd lied to Victoria when he thought she was Vivienne, Victoria puts into words what most of the readers were probably feeling. He'd intended to seduce her and cast her away despite the fact that she had no memory of who she was. Victoria had trusted him and he'd lied to her. Neither things make him a particularly shining example of morality I was happy that Victoria took him to task over it. I hadn't remembered just how harshly she'd come down on him over it.
I do think he got off a little lightly -- and his apology to Vivienne happened off the page. I would have liked to see that to be honest. That probably would have solved my issue with it.
I also would have liked to see more of Victoria in her own world -- she returns to her home and only makes it two days before returning to Grant. I wanted to have a better sense of her apart from Grant.
Someone to Watch Over Me
Overall I have to admit that I was nervous when I put this series on my summer reading list because while I've read the other two books in this trilogy several times, I can only remember ...