Ambrose ravishes Concordia. And so goes another historical romance from the remarkably prolific Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz), author of equally numerous contemporary thrillers.
In this Victorian-era mystery, freethinking governess Concordia Gale rescues her charges from certain ruin. Hired to teach four orphans at a remote castle, Concordia soon discovers the mysterious benefactor’s nefarious plan: to auction off the young ladies to the highest bidder. In a MacGyver-like move, Concordia blows up the castle and she and the girls escape, with the unexpected help of Ambrose Wells, a private inquiry agent brought to the castle for his own investigations. Ambrose brings Concordia and the girls back to his stately London manse for safe keeping—the crime lord behind the auction will stop at nothing—nothing!—to get the girls back. Meanwhile, Ambrose and Concordia act on their passion. Indeed, ever since Ambrose first spied her “charmingly rounded derriere” on horseback, the two have been practicing the fine art of flirtation. And they soon discover they have much in common. Concordia is the illegitimate daughter of two radical free-thinkers, and was raised in their community of like-minded intellectuals. This makes Concordia determined and worldly. A rumored sex-scandal at the commune has ruined Concordia’s reputation, and she must hide her past at all costs. Likewise, Ambrose comes from a long line of swindlers and as an orphaned teenager became a master burglar, skills he now uses as an investigator. Reformed by the wealthy Mr. Stoner (whose house he lives in, whose heir he is), Ambrose spent years in Asia studying the ancient ways of the Vanza from monks. This makes Ambrose mysterious and disciplined. After some undercover investigations (Ambrose and Concordia are now working as a team, which may indicate sequels to come), a few murders and explanations all around, Ambrose and Concordia consummate their relationship amid the ferns in the conservatory.
For fans of Quick, certainly another pleaser as romance and murder and silk flounces abound. For the uninitiated, beware: the purple prose is only a few footsteps away from high camp.