Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: In the Barrister's Chambers by Tina Gabrielle

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In The Barrister's Chamber introduces Jack Harding -- perhaps the best defense lawyer of his generation. As a young man, Jack never showed any inclination towards the study of law or for any study, for that matter -- but, after studying under Emmanuel Darlington, Jack found his calling. He is smart, successful and well-received in Polite Society -- all the things that Jack has worked towards accomplishing. He has decided that a wife and a family would be needless complications in the well-oiled machinery that is his life and has decided to never marry.

When Evelyn Darlington, the beautiful and intelligent daughter of his beloved mentor, approaches him and asks his assistance regarding a murder case, sparks fly and Jack is made to reconsider his decision about love and marriage.

Evelyn was 12 when she first met Jack and, even at such a young age, she knew that what she felt for the young student was more than just academic and scholarly. Now at 22, she is almost engaged to Randolph Sheldon, her father's university fellow -- but their engagement plans were derailed when he becomes the only suspect in the murder of a well-known Drury Lane actress.

Jack's professional instincts all scream for him to refuse the case but, one look at Evelyn Darlington and his long-standing affection for her father, Emmanuel, compels Jack to accept the case.

The murder of Bess Whitfield proves to be the tip of the iceberg -- as Jack and Evie discover more clues that point to something more sinister: murder, the blackmail of members of the ton, etc. Evie and her father's lives are endangered when it seems that what the murderer is looking for is something that Evie or her father have in their possession -- and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

What I like about this series is how the author has managed to turn a profession (being a barrister) romantic -- and the barristers that share the same chambers at Lincoln Inn all possess heroic qualities. Tina Gabrielle breathes new life and dimension into her group of heroes: Jack Harding, Anthony Stevens, Brent Stone and James Devlin (In the Barrister's Bed) -- I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Jack's work at Old Bailey and his interactions with his fellow barristers.

I think Tina Gabrielle understands perfectly the legal aspect of her story and she writes it so well and in such an accessible way. In the trials that she narrates in her story, she also highlights the very real problems of London in the 19th century and the barrister's role in maintaining a semblance of sensibility in the justice system.

The love story between Evelyn and Jack was also well-done. A childhood crush develops into something more -- and Evelyn and Jack have both found someone worthy of their trust and affection. I love that what begins as a physical attraction for Jack deepens as he comes to know Evelyn better, and discover the core of steel at the heart of her. She's a woman who can stand up to him and stand by him, when necessary.

The lady is nothing but trouble, he mused. She had been a minx as a girl -- an I-know-it-all-better-than-you-ever-will tormenter -- and as a grown woman she was wildly beautiful. His attraction was its own warning. He never mixed business with pleasure. It always led to disastrous results in the courtroom.
- pp. 11-12

Love or career? This was the question that Jack thought he had already answered -- and I'm glad that he eventually realizes that it isn't an either/or situation but an "and also" -- ^_^.

Finally, the mystery of the Drury Lane actress's death was riveting, especially when it was discovered who were involved in Bess's life: respected lords, who might have done anything to keep their names out of the scandal sheets. Tina Gabrielle keeps you guessing until the very end.

I actually read James' story already (In the Barrister's Bed) and I'm looking forward to reading about Brent and Anthony.

In the Barrister's Chambers is the first book in Tina Gabrielle's Regency Barrister series. To find out more about the author and her books, click below:


I read this book as part of the Romance Reading Challenge 2013 hosted by The Bookworm.



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