The Dangerous Lord
I found reading The Dangerous Lord to be like eating an almost-good casserole – the type where you like the rice, cheese, and chicken, but have to eat around the olives. The book has some nice characters and some great scenes, but some of the plot elements are just a bit off.
Felicity Taylor is the daughter of a popular but foolish architect. She is left with a mountain of debt and four young brothers to support after his death. She sells off most of her possessions of any value, and supports them the only way she knows how – by writing a gossip column. She spends what meager funds she can on some decent clothes so she can attend some ton events, keeps her ears open, and pens a popular column under the name “Lord X.” When her soft-spoken friend is on the verge of marrying the notorious, secretive Viscount St. Clair, Felicity takes matters into her own hands, and writes a column accusing St. Clair of keeping a mistress.
Ian (Viscount St. Clair) does own a home in a quiet area, and an attractive woman lives there with her infant son, so Felicity feels justified in her conclusions. Actually, however, the woman is not Ian’s mistress. And since Ian desperately needs to find a wife and sire an heir if he wants to keep his inheritance, he is furious when Lord X prints the erroneous gossip. As one of England’s top spies during the war, he has no trouble tracking down the real Lord X. He tries to get Felicity to print a retraction, but she refuses.
When they are both invited to the same house party, Ian decides to exact revenge by tarnishing Felicity’s reputation. He dances just a little too close to her, and takes her out on the verandah for a kiss. But the kiss surprises both of them – neither wants it to end, but end it does when they are interrupted by their hostess and one of London’s notorious gossips. From here their relationship changes; Ian decides he must marry Felicity, and she is reluctant to marry a man who is so secretive about his past. She must learn to trust him, and he must get the courage to be honest – and forgive himself for past mistakes.
Felicity and Ian are both likable characters, and they are the best thing about the book. Both have had problems in the past that affect their current lives. Felicity was often accosted by young lords while she accompanied he father on trips to their homes, so much of the venom in her column is directed toward arrogant and licentious men. Ian thinks poorly of himself because of an incident in his past, but he is an honorable man who is concerned about others. Ian and Felicity share some poignant scenes, particularly at the end when he reveals his past to her.
The secondary characters are not as well-developed here, primarily because most of them are from earlier books in the series. I had trouble distinguishing the heroines of the two earlier books from each other, because they seemed more or less the same. I haven’t read the other two books, however, so those who are not new to the series probably won’t have this problem. The couples from the earlier books make several appearances, so if you really enjoyed The Pirate Lord and The Forbidden Lord (both of which received Desert Isle Keeper status) then you will probably enjoy seeing old friends.
The other part of the book that didn’t quite work came about halfway through when Ian and Felicity fell in love with each other. The change seemed to happen very quickly on both their parts, and in Ian’s case it required a bit too much suspension of disbelief because he had been so antagonistic to Felicity before. Fortunately, their relationship becomes a little more believable as the book goes on, although a lot of the conflict revolves around Ian’s Big Secret. If you aren’t a fan of Big Secrets, be forewarned – this one may annoy you.
On the whole, this is not a bad book, as the main characters are intriguing. But some of the pieces just didn’t quite come together. I would recommend it more for those who have already read and enjoyed the two previous books in the series.