If He's Daring
The Wherlockes are back in Hannah Howell’s latest novel about the outcast family with psychic abilities. While the story is a solid one, this novel lacks some of the oomph of the earlier books in this series and took a turn toward the predictable. But for all its faults, it is still an above average read and Howell fans will want to add this sixth book about the Wherlockes to their collection. Those who have not read any of the previous books will find this book works well as a stand-alone.
Lady Catryn Gryffin de Warrene has a problem. The widowed mother of Alwyn de Warrene has been in court ever since her husband died to try and keep her brother-in-law Sir Morris de Warrene from stealing her son’s inheritance. The courts sided with Lady Catryn and awarded her father guardianship of Alwyn. When Morris could no longer try the courts to gain control over Alwyn, he resorts to kidnapping. As the story begins, Catryn’s father has been hit over the head and Morris has absconded with Alwyn. A frantic Catryn begins to follow, but her horse is old and begins to come up lame. With nothing but the safety of her child in mind, she “borrows” Sir Orion Wherlocke’s coach without his permission. Unfortunately, she does not realize his son Giles is in the coach. As Catryn and Giles take off across the country in pursuit of Alwyn, Sir Orion is right behind them chasing after his son. Eventually they catch up with the kidnapping Morris and snatch Alwyn back. Giles is the one to realize that Catryn has some psychic abilities of her own
Sir Orion Wherlocke’s gift is one of tracking people and he puts it to good use in searching for his son after Catryn takes off with Giles in his carriage. Giles, being an illegitimate Wherlocke has a gift as well and his is sensing gifts in other people. When he is finally reunited with his father, he convinces Orion to help Catryn who he thinks must be distantly related to the Wherlocke family. After causing a diversion, Alwyn is rescued, but Catryn and Orion must still deal with Morris and his evil plans. Sir Orion takes Catryn and Alwyn out to the Wherlocke country estate to keep them safe. Of course, Orion cannot take his mind off of the innocent and sensuous widow and explores a relationship with her. Since she is a widow, the confirmed bachelor doesn’t hesitate to get Catryn into his bed. Well…the best laid plans of mice and men…
This story starts with a bang and never really lets up. The pacing is rapid, but it fits with the frantic nature of the crisis that is Catryn’s life and survives the tempo to make a cohesive story. I liked all of the main characters. Catryn is strong and pragmatic. Sir Orion is sensual and protective and the combination of the two is a fiery mix. The love story was believable and the ending satisfying and Hannah Howell does love scenes very well.
However…Howell’s characterization of her heroes as profligate with hordes of illegitimate children is starting to become a little stale and renders the book a little too formulaic for my tastes. I understand that the women who were impregnated by the Wherlocke men did not want to raise strange children and that is why all of the Wherlocke males end up with physical custody of their offspring, but it would be nice if just one of them was not a randy goat. The villain is about as much of a caricature as one can get and written without nuance. The children add a nice touch and demonstrate the closeness of the family, but they are almost interchangeable as characters and I would have liked to see them have stronger personalities. The minuses in this book are minor, but they do add up.
Overall I would recommend those fans who are anxious for the next installment in Clan Wherlocke to check out the book, but this addition will probably not make my shelf of to-be-read-again books.