Title: The Perils of Pleasure
Author: Julie Anne Long
Published: 2008, Avon
Category: Historical Romance
Colin Eversea is the devil-may-care youngest son of the infamous Eversea clan, a family celebrated for doing as they please and always getting out of scrapes. As the book opens, however, it looks like Colin may not be as lucky as the rest of his family. He's been charged with murder (the key witness who would have proved his innocence has disappeared) and sentenced to hang. Minutes before he's due to swing he's rescued in an explosive and daring manner by a woman, Madeleine Greenway. Madeleine was hired to rescue Colin, but before she can deliver him and collect her reward, someone tries to kill her. Madeleine and Colin make an uneasy alliance and decide to figure out who wanted Colin alive and Madeleine dead. Their journey takes them through some of the seediest parts of London, where they meet all sorts of characters.
I wasn't completely wowed by this book (AAR gave it DIK status), but I did really enjoy it. Colin especially I thought was a great character -- he's really funny and charming. He's kind of lived his life with the goal of just having a good time, so when he has to deal with these weighty things (um, like dying) he's kind of shocked into introspection for the first time. He finally figures out what he really wants. I wasn't so thrilled with Madeleine. She's a very mysterious character at first, but we finally find out that she has had quite a sad past. And this was my problem with her; she had this tragic past that I never felt was appropriately dealt with. Not that I wanted her to be all mopey and woe-is-me, I just thought she was a bit inconsistent.
But all the crazy things the two uncover during their investigation are a lot of fun. The final revelation was quite surprising, though it was maybe glossed over a bit quickly. I wonder whether we'll hear more about it in the later books in the series. (Book 2, The Dangers of Desire, is due in November.)
Only other thing I have to say about this book is that I think the proofreader was asleep. I don't mean it to reflect on the author, because it's not her fault and it didn't really affect my enjoyment. But come on, Avon.