Rose in the Mist
Rose in the Mist is certainly not a bad romance novel. It was a painless, mildly diverting read that went down quickly and easily. However, neither did it stay in my mind for any time after I read the last page.
Niall Riordan finds himself in the unfamiliar court of Queen Elizabeth I, working to negotiate a lasting settlement to the ongoing battle over Ireland. He represents a compromise faction willing to accept Elizabeth as the titular ruler of Ireland as long as the Irish people are left pretty much to run things as they always have.
Many on both sides, however, cannot agree to such a solution. One of those is Catriona Sherwood, now a properly trained lady in waiting to Elizabeth, but once an heiress to an Irish estate who saw her father struck down before her eyes. Within the court, she works secretly to avenge her own losses by furthering the interests of the die-hard rebels who will never accept any level of English involvement in Ireland.
Despite Cat’s instant attraction to Niall, she’s all too aware that they are working at cross purposes, and reluctantly agrees to frame him for a crime in order to scuttle the truce negotiations. And that’s the end of it, she believes.
But soon enough it’s Cat herself in dire danger of spending time in the Tower of London, or worse, until Queen Elizabeth forces a solution that saves everyone’s lives but pleases no one. Stuck with each other, Niall and Cat must work to resolve both their political and personal differences, as well as the deep distrust the Riordan family bears to Cat for her earlier betrayals.
You’ve seen Cat and Niall or their clones in countless novels. Both are fabulously good looking, drawn to each other in spite of their differences, and obviously destined to live happily ever after as soon as they can clear up those differences. You’ve also seen every secondary character before, from the male childhood friend of the heroine who loves her in a way she can never return, to the protective brothers of the hero, to the heroine from a previous book who befriends the newest addition to the family, right down to the motherly servant who makes the heroine feel welcome when no one else in the household will.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, when it’s all handled competently. There’s much to be said for unchallenging comfort reads. And for the most part, Ana Seymour does a very good job of telling her tale. Except for too much reliance on a very clichéd Big Misunderstanding to keep the lovers at odds (hint: remember that male childhood friend of the heroine who loves her, but she doesn’t love him…? Guess what the hero thinks!), the story is a quick and unobjectionable read.
But that’s all it is. If you are a great fan of Irish romances or need a few hours’ light entertainment, you may want to give this one a look. There are far worse choices out there than Rose in the Mist, but there are many more memorable ones as well.