Friday, April 22, 2016

ARC Review: Mad for Love by Elizabeth Essex



My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Mad for Love is a short prequel novella in Elizabeth Essex's new series, Highland Brides. I met Elizabeth recently at the RT Convention, and she was super nice!  

Mignon du Blois and her scoundrel father fled France and immigrated to London in the wake of the French Revolution.  Monsieur du Blois is a forger of fine art, and has been plying his trade to keep himself and his daughter in the life to which they were accustomed. When one of his forgeries is displayed in a museum requiring inspection by an exert, Rory Cathcart, Mignon must take drastic steps to steal the forgery back before her father is caught and sent to gaol. Mignon was a likable heroine. She dealt well with her exasperating father and was not afraid to take action to protect him when necessary. The only thing I didn't really like about her was that they referred to her as Miss Blois, instead of Mme du Blois... so I kept hearing/seeing Miss BLAH in my head. So I hated the name, that's about it. Otherwise she was a solid heroine without any annoying characteristics. She could have been more dynamic with some additional backstory, but what we had fit well within the confines of the story length.

Rory Andrews Cathcart, former thief and by-blow of an Earl, is now an art expert and determined to catch master forgers.  Suspecting Monsier du Blois brings him in direct contact with the lovely Mignon, to whom he has an instant attraction... even though she bashes him over the head with a halberg. Rory decides to pose as a thief to assist Mignon with her little problem... but then he plans to marry her. Rory was a bit of a charmer and swept Mignon off her feet, her gentlemen thief as she referred to him.

I was a little surprised at the lack of drama when Rory revealed himself... the story was tied up very quickly without any fuss or muss. I think I would have liked that to be stretched out a bit more... and would have liked some additional character development as well.  I do like all of Rory's friends, whom I suspect will be future heroes of the Highland Brides series. Mignon's scoundrel father was a lovable scamp as well, despite putting Mignon in danger of having to flee to America with her reputation in tatters.

I received an advanced copy of this novella via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My understanding is that this prequel novella will remain free for fans to be introduced to the Highland Brides series.