The Virtuous Viscount by Susan M. Baganz

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Virtuous Viscount by Susan M. Baganz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Just when Marcus Allendale, Lord Remington, is thinking it may finally be time to find a wife, a serious carriage accident brings Miss Josephine Storm into his path. However, Josie’s grave injuries present a challenge for Marcus’s growing interest in her. And more than their relationship could be in danger, due to the nefarious schemes of the obscure Black Diamond in The Virtuous Viscount, a novel by author Susan M. Baganz.

The Baron’s Blunder, the novella that precedes this novel, is what drew me into this Gothic Regency romance series. It may be ironic, but friendship is what I liked most about this story—specifically, the friendship between Marcus, Phillip, Michael, and Theodore. They’re not a bunch of perfect people, and they don’t all share Marcus’s faith, but the dynamic among them is fun to watch, and their bond is more of a brotherhood.

(Side note: during a particular scene where these friends/brothers storm into raw action, I imagined what it would’ve been like if the fiery Henrietta, the heroine from the prequel novella, could have just happened to burst into the fray with her pistol. Whew!)

Much of the romance in this book has a heavy fairytale quality. I enjoyed some of Marcus and Josie’s earlier exchanges, but, admittedly, I can’t say I came to like Josie overall, and there didn’t seem to be a good balance of strength(s) between the two of them. Also, their individual ponderings about each other would feel redundant at times or would weigh on the story without necessarily moving the plot forward. I think I might’ve enjoyed this particular tale more as a somewhat shorter, tighter read.

Nevertheless, the suspense and danger that began to unfold in the preceding book deepens here. Plus, the admirable showing of Marcus’s friend Phillip in this novel would make moving on in the series all the more interesting.

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Here’s my review of the prequel novella of the Black Diamond series, The Baron’s Blunder.

 

 

The Baron’s Blunder by Susan M. Baganz

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Baron’s Blunder by Susan M. Baganz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Fighting highway attackers on behalf of defenseless travelers is a hobby, of sorts, for Lord Charles Percy. One such rescue brings him into the path of the Honorable Henrietta Allendale—only it soon becomes evident that she’s not at all defenseless. A mutual but almost reluctant interest sparks between them, but the criminal schemes of one notorious Black Diamond brings peril to their association in The Baron’s Blunder by author Susan M. Baganz.

It was the cover that most drew me to this novella. Yes, it’s quite lovely and has depth, it’s bold and vibrant in a dark kind of way, and it was the darkness that got me curious. When it comes to Regency fiction, I’m finding that I prefer stories with high stakes involved, aside from just social or romantic connections and displays of old-fashioned English manners and speech.

Hence, I appreciated the danger and intrigue in this Gothic Regency romance. It was great to come across a heroine with fire to her, and by that, I don’t mean she’s brash, wild, or rude to people. She isn’t perfect, may even be a bit snobbish, but she’s got wit, brains, faith, and a level of fearlessness that makes her character interesting.

I found some parts of the story to be rather clichéd or overdone, there’s perhaps too much winking, and the romance has quite a few references to “warmth” and “sensations,” which gets repetitive. Also, though this isn’t an insta-love story, the eventual jump to love still felt rushed to me, on one party’s part in particular, especially since they both began the story so opposed to marriage.

Still, I very much enjoyed this read, ate it up in one evening, and would be happy to continue the series.

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The Baron’s Blunder is the Black Diamond series prequel. Here’s my review of Book One, The Virtuous Viscount.