Wednesday, 14 April 2010

To Catch an Heiress by Julia Quinn

****
Caroline has only six weeks until she inherits her fortune, so far she’s had a succession of miserable guardians all after her money and she finally runs away when her vile cousin tries to compromise her into marriage on the orders of her guardian. She’s nowhere to go, but she’s a resourceful young woman and anywhere is better than the alternative.
When she is captured by Blake Ravenscroft, who mistakenly believes her to be the Spanish spy Carlotta De Leon, Caroline decides it’s a pretty convenient way to wait out for her twenty-first birthday. Blake has worked as an agent for the War Office for many years, but this is his final mission before he settles into a quieter life. Due to his personal demons he’s determined to bring the traitor to justice. As he tries to get to the truth, Caroline’s common sense and positive attitude comes to the fore and he has to fight a growing attraction to the unusual but disarming “spy”. However, when he and James Sidwell (his friend and colleague) discover Caroline’s true identity things become even more complicated.
Despite the unconventionality of her developing friendship with Blake and James, Caroline is the happiest she has ever been, she tries to make herself useful around the house and befriends all Blake’s staff to the detriment of his meals. She even manages to make the best of a bad situation when she has to live in the bathroom for a week to prevent detection when Blake’s sister, Penelope, makes an unannounced visit.
Again, it’s all frivolous and silly, but still enjoyable good fun, partly because the daft situations that the characters find themselves in are well written and are genuinely funny. Blake and Caroline squabble throughout the book and it still manages to maintain the pace throughout. Caroline is very entertaining and provides the fun that the rather morose and self-indulgent Blake needs in his life and he gives her the security and care she’s never had. As a hero, I did find Blake a bit lacking and preferred James, but he get’s his chance is the next book (review coming soon!)