©2004 Joanne Dobrzanski; (P)2004 Recorded Books,LLC
"... another beguiling tale that beautifully combines sexy romance and dangerous intrigue." (Booklist)
This is the fourth entry in Goodman's Compass Club series in which all four stories occur in the same time period. Reading them out of order isn't really a problem, which I guess is a good thing since only two of the books are available here at Audible.
When I read this book in print I was so moved by Goodman's portrayal of the gradual thawing of West's cold and aloof heart. Apparently narrator Sterlin didn't grasp that because it was almost painful listening to a particularly intimate scene in which West confides his most painful secrets to Ria. This is the scene in which a "reader" would know that he had surrendered his heart, but sadly a "listener" would hear the same cold and aloof man we met at the beginning of the story.
I've seen enough BBC historical drama to recognize the high-toned cadence of a regency era upper crust accent and it works well enough in straight narrative here. However, Sterlin's voice for male characters sounds snide and slightly effeminate and I found it grating and wrongwrongwrong for a romantic lead. The villains are given a full Snidely Whiplash treatment and the other members of the Compass Club and romantic heroes in their own books sound fat, old, and blarbly (not a word, I know, but that's how they sound).
I loved all four of the books but this one was by far my favorite. Based on content of the first three books, I did not expect to like West as much as the other three Compass Club members, but it turns out he is by far the most admirable and one of the most attractive characters I have had the pleasure to meet. Also, the malevolence of the Bishops in this book reaches a climactic level of cruelty that serves to highlight the evil of the Society and vividly illustrates the good versus evil theme. Thoroughly enjoyable and the narrator was terrific.
this was not as good as south, but was better than east - on par with north. the author is great at continuing the series and connecting them all - really great as you are so familiar with the characters. this is a good read - a little far fetched conclusion, but I absolutely enjoyed every minute. the reader was great as always. write more!
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