Books: Dangerous Secrets by Caroline Warfield

So this was a somewhat nice change from the typical Regency romance. For one thing, it's set primarily in Rome. A dissolute baron-turned-army-major is holed up there, too ashamed to return home to England. And then an Englishwoman finds him and hires him as her translator to help her navigate through the Italian culture as she tries to gain custody of her niece.

There are a lot of politics in this book, so if you don't like that kind of thing, this may not be the book for you. I, for one, appreciated the depth of research. However, I didn't 100% enjoy the plot. It just felt at times a wee bit repetitive. The niece (who at first I couldn't tell how old she must be? but then figured out she's five) disappears a couple of times, which of course causes drama. The hero keeps thinking about how he should come clean and be honest about his past. He also refers to the heroine as a "wren" for the first part of the book, but then that is rather abruptly dropped. The villains are somewhat thinly painted, too. I actually most enjoyed seeing the hero interact with his friends, but that comes very late in the book and is brief.

The romance here is . . . okay. I wasn't feeling flames or anything, but Regency is often sweet. Thing is [spoiler], these characters do get married, and there are sex scenes. But I just didn't feel the chemistry the way I wanted to.

Nor did I get as much resolution as I might have liked. Some things get tied up off the page and explained later, and some things are left implied.

Still, I have to admire Warfield for writing something other than the usual vapid Regency tale. This is much more layered and nuanced than that. And what do I know? This book won a RONE award, after all.

I'd certainly check out more by Warfield.

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