Saturday, September 17, 2016

Series Saturday Review: Discovery of Desire by Susanne Lord

Series:     London Explorers #2
Pub. Date:Sept. 6, 2016
Publisher:Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:384 pages

Well Susanne Lord has blown me away again. She astounded me with her debut novel, In Search of Scandal. Now I am equally, maybe even more so, impressed by Discovery of Desire. I can't get over just how eminently likable characters her main character has been in each of these books.

We first met Seth Mayhew in In Search of Scandal where he agreed to go to India and Tibet in place of Will Repton to search for a missing orphan, a family member of the Marchioness of Winston. Seth was also seeking his sister, Georgianna, who preceded him to Tibet to find little orphan Aimee. As an explorer, Seth Mayfair has led a most interesting life. Yet he has barely scraped by while making loads of money for the East India Company. The injustice of his situation really bothered me because he was just so dang nice and lovable. Seth is a jovial giant, a working class commoner who is totally unlike the heroes I normally go for. He was somewhat big and bumbling, a little awkward, but uber-personable and a wonderfully sweet flirt. I think this is the first genuinely nice guy hero that I have fallen for... but I am totally head over heals for Seth Mayhew, as is most every other female in his life.

Wilhelmina and Emma Adams are venture girls, women who export themselves from London to India to find a husband among the East India Company. They are known as the Fishing Fleet, as the women endure a three month sailing voyage, and arrive in India trying to catch a husband. I found these women to be incredibly brave, and most were also quite desperate. Mina and Emma arrived in India having only corresponded with the men they expected to marry upon arrival... I can't imagine being in such a situation. Mina is there to marry Tom Grant, whom Seth Mayhew was meeting as well. But Seth and his male wiles cast a huge shadow over Tom, the practical botanist. Mina and Emma were in India due to desperation, and you could really feel her need to secure a future for herself and her six sisters. She was a great match for Seth... her managing and practical ways were the perfect balance for his bumbling ideas. While I liked her as a heroine, Seth really overshadowed her and I was happy with that. 

This romance was so unique - not just because of the character's personalities, but because of their social class. It's not often that you see a historical romance with both the hero and heroine as members of the working class. I don't think that this storyline would normally attract me, but Susanne Lord really brought the story to life and I was engrossed from the first chapter. I really experienced the full range of emotions as I read... having a huge smile for Seth, but also crying many tears for his situation and self-doubt. But if you are a fan of the HEA, you will definitely like this story. I couldn't be more happy for two such deserving characters.

I did a quick Google to learn more about East India Company's practice of importing women... an endeavor which ultimately failed as the women found the sex trade preferable to marriage to company men. I wasn't able to find a quick and ready article, but you can find a little info here. This was a practice that I had not heard of before, so I was quite interested in the premise. I love it when I learn something new (and true) when reading fiction!

I received an advanced copy of this book from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I can't wait to see what Susanne Lord comes up with next!