Saturday, September 6, 2008

Review: The Charmer by Celeste Bradley

Title: The Charmer
Series: Liar's Club
Author: Celeste Bradley
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: October 5, 2004
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 0312999712
ISBN-13: 9780312999711

Collis Tremayne could make any female swoon; yet no one would guess the hidden desperation that drove him to become the most skilled spy in service to the Crown. All that stands in his Rose Lacey, a confounding chit who manages to outsmart him with cunning and courage. She is the only woman he cannot melt with his smile. With every breath, he wishes he never laid eyes on her. And with every flash of her green eyes, he craves to possess her...

Rose Lacey fought hard to meet the challenge of becoming a spy for the infamous Liars Club. And if it weren't for Collis Tremayne, who manages to make her blood boil with his arrogance, and leave her breathless with white hot longing, she'd achieve her dream. Now, they must work together on a secret mission to uncover a dangerous plot-one in which the very safety of England hangs in the balance. Armed with wit and wiles, they must face deadly intrigue, clever enemies, and-if they can manage not to murder one another-the intoxicating lure of
unbidden passion...

My rating:

Rose Lacey and Collis Tremayne are fellow trainees for the Liar's Club. The two are at the top of their "class" and are expected to "graduate" shortly.

The rivalry that's brought them so far, is now the only thing keeping them from achieving the goal. The two just can't seem to be able to work together. And they profoundly dislike each other to boot.

To smooth things over, and as punishment for their latest mess, the pair is sent on a test mission. They have to infiltrate a house, find the proof against the owner, and get out... Together.

Thanks to a clumsy case of fallen case files, Rose and Collis end up staking out the wrong house. As they uncover the true, nefarious plot against the English soldiers, the Prime Minister, and the Prince Regent himself, can they manage to work together without going for each other's throats? And is their animosity toward one another real, or just a cover for something much more powerful?

The Charmer is the first book in the Liar's Club series I truly enjoyed from cover to cover.

The interaction between the two leads was so real, the book could easily pass as "UST for Dummies". The tension was palpable and at times so thick you could hack it with a chainsaw.

But what truly drives the story in the middle and keeps the plot from slowing (yet again!) is the funny, yet bitter-sweet presence of George IV, the Prince Regent.
He's the comedic character, driving instrument, and sage older adviser combined into one.
Once he enters the scene, you won't be able to put the book down. And lucky, he's in there almost from the beginning. His pudgy self keeps the plot going, when it tethers precariously on the edge of the precipice to pace-Hell.

This is truly a little gem, maybe in need of some soft mop to polish it into shining, but still a highly-recommended read.


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