Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Angel in My Arms by Stefanie Sloane

This is Stefanie Sloane's second novel and is part of her Regency Rogues (Young Corinthians) series.

She keeps to the tried-and-tested combination of spies + mystery + love. A lot of authors seem to use these to move their stories forward --

The greatest danger of this is the lack of originality in the story -- granted that, with romance novels being around for more than 50 years, all the "original" plots have been taken and used many times.

I think the author's challenge is to add something fresh to the story.

Sloane succeeds partly in doing so -- her heroine is refreshingly honest. (A bit too honest, if you think about it.) Sarah is also wary of men who want her for her beauty.

But there's something about Marcus that catches her fancy.

He's half-Scot and half-English and no one wants him. Except Sarah and the Young Corinthians.

He's actually in Dorset to investigate the smuggling ring that has strong ties to Napoleon and his ambition. Initially, Marcus believes this to be a wild goose chase and ploy for him to rest his injured leg.

His first meeting with Sarah is anything but ideal -- it involves a dog, a wet Sarah and Sarah's equally honest younger brother. But there's something about Sarah and her honesty that interests Marcus.

When the smuggling ring is uncovered and Marcus realizes that the mission is more dangerous than he initially thought, he and Sarah try to find the murderous leader of the smuggling ring.

Sloane is very good at creating suspense -- but I felt she lacked focus on the "finer details" of the story -- two boys were murdered because of their involvement with the smuggling ring -- and the aftereffects of these events were only described sparingly. I would think that, considering how small Sarah's town is, these two murders would shock people to their core. Instead, there is a ball. And other things.

I think Sloane also needs to work on blending love and mystery more seamlessly -- the book can be broken into 2 parts -- the first half of the book is about Sarah and Marcus's love. The second part of the book is about Sarah and Marcus and the devious plot. I felt that the two stories were independent of each other instead of contributing to each other to deepen the story.

I'm currently reading the 3rd part of this series. Book 2 was very good and the Young Corinthians are intriguing enough for me to keep following their stories.


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