Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz)
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, Thorndike Press on May 7, 2014
Genres: Historical, mystery/thriller, Romance
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Miss Amity Doncaster, world traveler, is accustomed to adventure and risk. Benedict Stanbridge, a man of science and a spy for the Crown, has faced danger in the darker corners of foreign lands.
But they are about to face a threat that is shockingly close to home . . .
One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. But Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her . . . for now.
But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge—gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him—as tenuous as it may be.
For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and will join forces to do so. And as they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings that neither of them can run away from. . .
The parts of Otherwise Engaged that worked the most for me was Amity and her sister Penny’s relationship and the agency that both women had (or achieved).
There are a lot of things that didn’t really work for me while reading Otherwise Engaged: the characters, the false engagement and Benedict’s behavior towards Amity.
For whatever reason Amity and Benedict did not work for me. I never felt that I got to know the characters – they (and their actions) felt very distant. As always I LOVE the idea and agency that Amanda Quick’s heroines have and Amity was no exception. She’s relatively wealthy, she travels the world alone while writing her own column, she’s extremely intelligent and she’s a competent medic/nurse. She even knows how to defend herself and carries a bladed fan. Sadly, while Amity has all of these wonderful characteristics, she never touched me in any real way.
Benedict…never gets much deeper than a 3″ cardboard cutout. He’s an amateur spy, he’s rich and he’s an inventor/engineer. That’s about it when it comes to Benedict. I could barely remember Benedict’s name from page to page.
The False Engagement
The false engagement between Benedict and Amity is a well used trope in Romance, especially in Historical Romances. False engagements normally work for me because I love the additional contact that the couple gets while not removing the tension of the “s/he loves me, s/he loves me not.” This one didn’t work for me…and I’m not really sure why. Part of it was my lack of attachment to the characters and I *think* another part is the way Amity and Benedict related to each other. They never had that “spark” with each other – no chemistry.
Another thing that bothered me about the engagement was that…Benedict and Amity never really discussed their relationship or the potential of their relationship. Not 100% sure why Benedict never really said anything (though he does ask Amity if he could call on her) but I think that Amity didn’t say anything because she was trying so hard to be “a woman of the world.”
Benedict + Amity
I never really cared for how Benedict treated Amity. He was not rude or abusive towards her – but he wasn’t forthcoming, either. He never really discussed with her how he felt about her or what he was looking for (from her). I didn’t care for that very much. The thing about Benedict that bothered me the most was the intimate relationship he had with Amity. View Spoiler »Benedict heard Amity say that she was “a woman of the world” and then defined that as Amity not being a virgin. So when Amity and Benedict first have sex, it’s a little rough, rushed and in a freaking STABLE on some HAY. He apologizes but WTF. WTF! « Hide Spoiler
All in all, this is a decent read but I think my prior experience with Amanda Quick made me expect more.