Otherwise Engaged (Amanda Quick)

May 8, 2014 Book Reviews 14 ★★★½

Otherwise Engaged (Amanda Quick)by Amanda Quick
Published by Putnam on April 22, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance, Historical romantic suspense
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library
Purchase: Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: The Mystery Woman, Garden of Lies, 'Til Death Do Us Part, The Girl Who Knew Too Much

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. . . 

Review

Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz) scores again with this entertaining romantic suspense novel set in Victorian-era London. The first scenes are set in the Caribbean, where Amity Doncaster stumbles across a gentleman in an alley, bleeding from a gunshot wound. A doctor’s daughter, Amity quickly staunches the wound, summons help, and proceeds to nurse her patient back to health as they sail for New York.

Cut to London, to which Amity has returned after several years away. A soon-to-be-published author of a guide to globetrotting, the seasoned traveller is is shocked but resourceful when kidnapped by the notorious Bridegroom, a serial killer who leaves his upper-class victims with a plain gold ring on their finger. I got a kick out of Amity’s secret weapon, which helps her fight and escape from the Bridegroom.

On hearing of Amity’s brush with death, Benedict Stanbridge rushes back to London, and the two team up to try to locate the Bridegroom. Joining them are Amity’s widowed sister Penny, with whom she is living, and Inspector Logan of Scotland Yard, newly assigned to the case. Matters are complicated (of course!) by a second mystery having to do with Benedict’s covert mission and the question of who shot him and why. The plot becomes almost impossibly convoluted, in fact, but Quick/Krentz is always good at making the implausible seem believable, and the twin mysteries were complex enough to keep me guessing for a long time.

I liked Amity very much; her courage, curiosity, practicality and confidence as a traveler contrast nicely with her relative inexperience in matters of the heart. She’s certainly no fainting violet! Benedict is a refreshingly normal hero. An engineer, he’s intelligent and scientifically-minded, not given to romantic speeches. He’s quick to see and plan for possibilities, which is critical to the plot on more than one occasion. He’s a perfect match for Amity, and there’s surprisingly little tension between them beyond the attraction they both feel. This leaves the mysteries to carry most of the suspense, but with two puzzles and at least two threats to deal with, there’s more than enough to keep you turning the pages.

Interwoven with the main story is a sweet but quiet secondary romance between Penny and the quiet, handsome, well-spoken Inspector Logan. Penny is forthright — one of her conversations with Benedict is shockingly open for the time period — but there are hints that all was not well in her marriage. She’s protective of Amity, but understands her very well and doesn’t try to restrict her in any way. I enjoyed both Penny and Logan, and could easily see them as main characters in their own book.  There’s nothing in the novel’s ending that suggests a sequel, but conversely, there’s nothing preventing one, so it’s not completely out of the question. Still, the book works perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Jayne Ann Krentz is one of my auto-read authors — I read everything she puts out. Otherwise Engaged may lack a little of the heat and tension of her very best books, but it’s engaging (if you’ll pardon the pun!) and satisfying nonetheless.

Rating: 3.5 stars
Recommended for: Readers who enjoy romantic suspense in a historical setting.

 

 

three-half-stars

About Amanda Quick

AMANDA QUICK is a pen name of Jayne Ann Krentz. The author of over 40 consecutive New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ writes romantic-suspense, often with a psychic and paranormal twist, in three different worlds: Contemporary (as Jayne Ann Krentz), historical (as Amanda Quick) and futuristic (as Jayne Castle). There are over 30 million copies of her books in print.

She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California. Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.

Ms. Krentz is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington.

Pseudonyms: Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, Stephanie James, Jayne Bentley, Jayne Taylor, Amanda Glass.

14 Responses to “Otherwise Engaged (Amanda Quick)”

  1. Bea

    I like the sounds of this and I’m curious about her secret weapon. Time to check the library!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Good luck — I was 25th on the hold list when I signed up for it. It’s a good thing the library system got a lot of copies, or I’d have been waiting for a looong time! I hope you don’t have to wait long. 🙂

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      She’s always entertaining! There are only a few that I’ve kept and re-read (the Arcane Society series, mainly), but I’ve enjoyed almost everything of hers I’ve read.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      You have more willpower than I do! Actually, because I got a copy from the library, I had to read it pretty quickly. They only give us 2 weeks on new releases, and there are like 50 holds after me…

  2. Tanja - Tanychy

    Like someone above me I haven’t read Amanda’s books in a while but my mom is a huge fun. I just got her one of her books from the library yesterday. But this one is new to me and I love that is set in Victorian England. I’m really glad you enjoyed it. Great review 🙂

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      That depends. Do you prefer your romantic suspense to be historical, contemporary, or futuristic/fantasy? And in the former two, do you prefer normal or paranormal?

      If you like paranormal romantic suspense (ESP, not vampires & shapeshifters), try the Arcane Society series, which spans all three of Krentz’s writing personas. Begin with White Lies.

      If you’re more into “normal” contemporary, try River Road, which came out this January. For historical, try Ravished or The River Knows. And if you like really over-the-top SFF romantic suspense, try the Ghost Hunters series that starts with After Dark.

      Have fun!

  3. Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic

    Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick is one of my favorite authors. I haven’t read her most recent books. This one sounds good. I’ll put it on my list to buy if the price gets lower!