This is a dual book in which we get the Regency-era romance of Rick's ancestors, Connell and Evangeline, before moving ahead two centuries to a contemporary tale of Rick and Sam set in Devonshire. What connects them is the reputedly cursed Nightshade Diamond -- keeping it in your possession brings bad luck while setting it aside draws good luck.
The Regency era story is fine. I've never been a huge fan of novellas with brand new characters meeting and falling in love because I'm often left with a sensation of not having enough space. They often come off as superficial and lacking depth. That's relatively true here. Gilly is an intriguing character but she isn't given enough space to really develop into the kind of heroine I believe would attract Connell.
I like the supporting cast (if you're a regular reader of Enoch's Regency romances, Francis Henning showing up made you giggle) and I was intrigued by Gilly's parents, but there wasn't enough softness in her mother, Eloise, to make her truly interesting. I liked her father, but like I said -- there wasn't enough space to really make this work as well as I think it could have.
It's fine, again, but it's nothing spectacular. It does, however, a good job of setting up the contemporary story which is much better.
Sam and Rick are at his Devonshire estate where the Victoria & Albert museum are using Rick's converted stables for a traveling gem exhibit. Sam is in charge of the security and locates the Nightshade diamond that Connell and Gilly hid in the first half of the book. Naturally, Rick doesn't believe in superstition, and Sam lives her life trying not to attract bad luck. Meanwhile, the gem exhibit is threatened by a thief from Sam's past.
This was better than Don't Look Down, but not as good as Flirting with Danger and Billionaires Prefer Blondes.I'm glad we didn't spend an entire book wit this plot -- I think it was a bit thin. I didn't love the mystery/suspense aspect, but the romantic conflict was mostly decent. There were a few things that kind of tripped me up and kept me from really giving this book a higher rating.
It's a good book, however. The second story is much better than the first half, but neither are a waste of your time.
First, with the Connell/Gilly story: I'm not a huge fan of men who pursue women who have told them no (See: To Distraction). However, I think it works better here than it usually does because Connell doesn't do anything super irritating. He follows all the normal rules -- he comes to call, asks for a date. It's slightly better but still one of my least favorite tropes.
Gilly's mother actually seriously annoyed me, and I don't know how her father put up with this nonsense for nearly twenty years. I don't have much more to say other than that.
For Sam and Rick, my biggest problem was that it's hard to believe Sam and Rick didn't catch on to Larson faster. I guess Sam was distracted by Bryce, but I would have thought Rick would do more vetting. I don't know. I liked the idea of a plant, I just think they're both smarter than that.
I'm super glad that Sam flipped out on Rick for putting the Nightshade diamond in her pocket. She's in the middle of a security threat and her entire reputation (and yours) is at risk. This is not the time to prove your point about superstitions. I'm glad Sam called Rick out on this idiocy -- it doesn't matter how Rick feels about the diamond -- he knew she felt.
I'm not sure how I feel about Rick being jealous about Bryce and his history with Sam. His heavy-handed nature is definitely his least attractive quality, and I'm glad that Sam continually calls him out on trying to solve problems she hasn't even had yet. I don't think Rick really believes Sam would cheat on him, but I guess given his past and Sam's adrenaline addiction, I get why he can be a bit waffly on the topic.
I like this book but it's definitely not one I pick up to reread often.