Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

Skeptic scale: ♥♥♥♥
Boy Likes Girl and Is Perfectly Clear About It, Saving Girl A Lot of Time and Energy: "It isn't simple for me," he cut in, stabbed again. "This must be Egyptian lust, because it isn't at all what I'm used to. I have...feelings."

He: Rupert Carsington is the rapscallion 4th son of the Earl of Hargate who has been banished to Egypt by his father. He's confident (cocky?), cheerful and too charming for his own good.

She: Daphne Pembroke is a wealthy widow of a much older man. She's a brilliant Egyptologist who studies hieroglyphics and ancient artifacts along with her brother.

Conflict: Daphne's brother is kidnapped by a band of villains and she is determined to find him. She goes to the British consulate in Egypt and requests reinforcements in her quest to find her brother. The consulate gives her Rupert Carsington who, at first blush at least, seems like a boneheaded fool. As they travel through Egypt in their quest to recover her mislaid brother, however, Daphne realizes he's actually much more than a good-natured blockhead. She has to overcome her reservations about Rupert to really risk her heart to another man.

What I loved:
1) What a stupendous hero! Tall, rakishly good looking Rupert Carsington is a good old fashioned British hero - a charming, roguish aristocrat with a penchant for trouble making and a heart of pure gold. He faces danger with dry wit and irrepressible good humor. Unlike other alpha heroes however, he does not suffer dark moods or a tortured past. He's not "broken" in any way and doesn't need any fixing by our heroine.

He actually reminded me of that hilarious hero/anti hero, Harry Flashman from George MacDonald Fraser's The Flashman Papers - a series set in the 1840s about another charming British rogue who always seems to land on his feet in spite of his insistence on charging into any scuffle within 10 miles of him. The difference is that Flashman was not a good person at all (he's a liar, a thief, a slave-trader, a philanderer and more), but our hero has all his charming attributes and none of the bad ones. 

2) Words, words, words. Loretta Chase is simply brilliant. She writes dialogue so you feel like you're actually hearing the screenplay of a movie. The language is perfect and she doesn't slip into American-isms. 

For example. This is one of my all time favorite romantic "reveal" scenes, where the characters share their feelings for one another. Could have easily been Mayor McCheesy, but in LC's hands, it was unbelievably sweet:

He said. "...You didn't need to warn me off. I know we're obliged to observe the proprieties. That's why I wish we were elsewhere."

"It doesn't matter where we are," she said. "This isn't the Arabian Nights. It was exciting, once-twice-to be carried away-"

"Was that all?" he said, and something stabbed inside, making him hot and cold at the same time. "You were carried away?"

"What did you want me to say?" 

He didn't have an answer. "I don't know," he said at last. "But you must say something more than that. You're the genius, not I."

"The matter doesn't require cleverness," she said. "What we experienced was lust, pure and simple - well, not pure-"

"It isn't simple for me," he cut in, stabbed again. "This must be Egyptian lust, because it isn't at all what I'm used to. I have...feelings."

I know, right? If only boys had been that clear with me in my youth. So much time could have been saved.

What was only ok:
1) I actually enjoyed the setting - Egypt in the 1820s. The heroine clearly is passionate about the history and legend of the place, but honestly, I thought it was a little much. Especially all the descriptions of the land as Daphne and Rupert make their way across the desert. But all that description was interspersed with PLENTY of action (the two seem to be set upon by thieves and bandits at every turn), so I can't really complain.

No comments:

Post a Comment