I Thee Wed
Emma Greyson is a young woman living in Regency England working as a lady’s companion in order to support herself and her sister, who is attending a school for young girls. She is tired of the impoverished, underappreciated life that comes with working for the wealthy of London and waits for an investment she made to come in and provide her with all the money she’ll ever need. But, thanks to Edison Stokes, her life takes the kind of turn that she could never imagine.
Edison Stokes is a rich, wealthy, handsome man about town. . .or at least that’s what he seems to be. He’s actually a student of a secret organization known as the Vanza, which dabbles in mystic arts and ancient fighting skills. A rare book filled with spells has been stolen and Edison knows that someone in his social circle is responsible for its theft and the murder that precipitated it. When he and Emma have an accidental meeting, she becomes involved in the quest to find the book, and the spirited romp begins. That is the premise of I Thee Wed, the latest novel by Amanda Quick.
My favorite thing about this book was the heroine. Emma is a delightful character; she seems like your typical mousy lady’s companion, but behind her dull spectacles hides a woman of intelligence, ingenuity and adventure. While she took risks and dangerous chances during the pursuit of the book, she never came across as a stupid or brainless chit who had to be constantly rescued by the hero, which happens in many other such romance novels. I also loved her razor sharp wit; some of her lines and her reactions to what was going around her had me laughing out loud (not advisable when someone is sleeping next to you at 3:00 A.M.).
Other minor characters, such as Emma’s employer, Letty, the menacing footman, Swan and especially Edison’s grandmother Victoria, really got my attention. I liked the grande old dame. It was nice to see her relationships with Edison and Emma grow and blossom.
The writing was dazzling as well. Not only was it rich and full of humor and spirit; the depiction of life in Regency England was vivid and detailed. She truly captured the world of these people; including the rules of society, the relationships between men and women, and moral attitudes of the time. Furthermore, the plot of the story was breezy and fast paced with never a dull moment (which turned out to be a good thing for reasons I’ll explain) as the characters followed the clues that led them to their goal. I must admit there were a few surprises in the novel, especially involving the true villain in the piece.
There a couple of things, however, that detracted from this novel. One was the hero; Edison is handsome, devilish and witty. But, he wasn’t particularly interesting. He seemed to be your basic adventurous hero with really nothing to distinguish him. Additionally, the entire Vanza aspect of the story, with its secret rituals and fighting techniques and such became not only boring but unbelievable, leading to another problem. . . .
The plot was rather silly. While it was fun and enoyable, it didn’t seem real – it kept me at a distance. That feeling of being completely immersed in the activities of a book never occurred. Lastly, the balance between romance and adventure clearly weighed more on the adventure side rather than an even blend of two. This kept me from really rooting for Emma and Edison as a couple; sometimes the love story seemed almost an afterthought.
Still, I would recommend I Thee Wed. The heroine is engaging, and while the story, flaws and all, moves along at a fast clip. Not only that, the writing is wonderful, descriptive and funny. If you can get past the implausible plot and less than intriguing hero, you’ll find an amusing one night read.