Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sandalwood Princess and Knaves' Wager, Loretta Chase

Title: The Sandalwood Princess and Knaves' Wager
Author: Loretta Chase
Published: 1990, Signet
Category: Regency Romance
Rating: 7/10 for Sandalwood, 8/10 for Knaves' Wager

I read these two books weeks and weeks ago, before Christmas. I meant to blog about them and just never got around to it. But I liked them so much I wanted to at least mention them. I'm definitely not feeling up to writing a plot summary, but here's the back cover copy:
The Sandalwood Princess
Determined to uncover who stole her sandalwood statue, Amanda Cavencourt is shocked to learn the culprit is a notorious rogue known as the Falcon. Why would a man renowned for his dangerous and delicate missions indulge in petty thievery? Intrigued by the mystery--and rumors of the Falcon's devilish charm and good looks--Amanda sets out on the trail of the brazen blackguard. But what she stumbles upon is a man who just may be her perfect match.
This book was a lot of fun--it starts out in India, then they're on a boat for months traveling to England. The Falcon steals the statue from Amanda, then she steals it back. Lots of trickery and running around. The couple is constantly lying to each other, but somehow they manage to actually get to know each other and fall in love.
Knaves' Wager
Lilith Davenant's sensibilities are appropriately offended. How dare Lord Julian Brandon kiss her when he knows full well the man she is to marry is in the very next room! She never imagines that his amorous pursuit is the result of a wager that will sully her flawless reputation--or that one day she will yearn for Julian's irresistible embrace...
I was actually shocked that I liked (really liked) this one--a wager plot and a reformed rake, meh. But I should have known that Chase could pull it off. The dialogue between the hero and heroine is just so snappy and delightful. Lilith is very "respectable" and is engaged to a boring old suitor, even though she's fallen in love with Julian. She thinks he'll just break her heart. I loved when Julian sends her a copy of Mansfield Park with a note that says, "May life with your 'Edmond Bertram' be, truly, happily ever after." Mansfield Park is by far my least favorite Austen--I always sort of wished Fanny weren't quite such a sanctimonious little twerp and ad lived it up a bit with Henry Crawford. I found the ending of Knaves' Wager much more satisfying. :)


Ana said...

Oh, thanks for that. This is a hard one to find but now that I read a good review I will definitely put more effort in buying it since I am a huge Loretta Chase fan.

nath said...

Was this just re-released? Sigh, what to do... I'm not a huge fan of historicals... but you gave it a good review...

Jennie said...

Ana--Definitely get them if you're a Chase fan. I really enjoyed them. On Chase's website she has an email address to write to if you're having trouble finding a copy. I'm not sure exactly what they'd do for you, but it might be worth finding out if you can't find it anywhere else.

Nath--No, they're both out of print right now. This double issue was released in 2005, I think. Hmm, have you read her other books that are in print? Like Lord Perfect, Mr. Impossible (both are excellent). I'd definitely say start there, because this one is pretty hard to find. :)

Jill D. said...


I read the Sandalwood Princess a while back. I liked it. I believe it won a RITA.

Andrea said...

Oh boy, just pile it on to the TBR pile. Thanks for the quick reviews!

Devon said...

I love Chase, I have to track down some of these.

BTW, did you see Sunday's Masterpiece Theatre version of Mansfield Park? Fanny was annoying, had enormous teeth and a brassy blonde rat's nest hair. Edmund looked like Adrien Brody's wussy younger brother. I thought they seemed particularly boring and sanctimonious.

Jennie said...

Devon--I thought the Masterpiece Theatre MP was very blah. Fanny's "rat's next hair"--exactly! Wouldn't any woman have her hair up in those days? I guess they were trying to make her look young and natural and poor, but it just looked out-of-place to me.

Have you seen the older movie version? I don't know any of the actors' names, but it was a theater release movie from maybe 5 years ago. It is a much better adaptation--the Fanny is actually likable, which is sort of surprising.