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As Luck Would Have It
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Brief Synopsis: Sophie Everton returns to London after many years away traveling the world. When she is approached on her homeward journey to "spy" on her cousin and his friends for "Prinny". She is confronted with the fact that her father is next to broke and she brokers a deal to make some money to help her family.

At about the same time Alex The Duke of Rockeforte who's family has been in the spy business for generations is approached to keep his eye on Sophie and her cousin for they may be possible traitors to the crown.

Without going into the story too much Alex manages to find his way into Sophies good graces by rescuing her when her carriage breaks down the very day she arrives into London. And the romance continues from there.

The lead characters were very likable. Alex's sharp wit was equally matched by Sophie's sharp mind. The blow by blow dialogue kept me going right to the end. The interplay between the back characters was wonderful.

I am not saying this debut novel was not without faults, however I have gladly overlooked the few minor mistakes in the face of a nice, romantic, interesting read. I will definitely by the next book(Whit and Mirabelle) as soon as it comes out.

Please keep this in mind when purchasing this book: the story was a bit sketchy at times and after some initial snooping the spying part pretty much got left out. But if you are willing to overlook a few MINOR foibles I believe you may like this book. Plus this is not your book if you are looking for sexual tension or even sex scenes. Those were very few and far between. Other than some kissing the "Consumation" did not take place until very near the end.

If you like Julie Ann Long, Catherine Coulter (historical), Laura Lee Guhrke, Anne Gracie, Sabrina Jeffries or even Julia Quinn I think you might be willing to add Ms. Johnson to your "have to read list". With time and some careful editing I think Ms. Johnson may someday be just as good as the before mentioned Great Authors. Give her a try.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
This review was originally posted on "The Historical Romance Critic" [thehrcritic.com]

Ever since reading Johnson's An Unexpected Gentleman (an excellent novel, if I remember correctly) I've been wanting to read some of her other works. The first of these, As Luck Would Have It, was a bit of a mixed bag.

I liked that the novel had lighthearted charm and wit, somewhat reminiscent of a Julia Quinn book. I liked that the heroine was competent on her own (knife-throwing, lock-picking, etc). I also liked that heroine did not want to be a conquest of the hero, and was somewhat opposed to being his mistress. And it was fun to see the hero fall hard for the heroine. However, there was also quite a bit to dislike. The middle 50% of the story could have been removed if the heroine had felt like telling the hero about her plan to find a husband, or if the hero had told her he was interesting in marrying her. Several elements of the story seemed borderline silly, like the marital agreements between the hero and heroine or the spy plot. On a similar note, the heroine's worries about fate at the end of the novel seemed like an annoying attempt to draw out the conflict.

In short, I found As Luck Would Have It to be an average fare. Some of its elements raised it above the crowd but others brought it right back down. I don't think I'll be saving this book to read again later, but I'm still looking forward to trying some of Johnson's other novels.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
STORY BRIEF:
Sophie and her father have been traveling the world for 12 years. Sophie returns to England for a short stay. She has certain skills like knife throwing and lock picking. A government agent tells her that her family's estate is in financial trouble, and he will pay her a large sum of money if she will spy on a specific group of men in London. She agrees. Alex is single and plans not to marry until age 40. A government agent asks him to spy on some people in London. Alex's family has always been loyal to the king and would do this kind of thing when asked. Alex agrees. Sophie's and Alex's paths cross during their spying activities.

REVIEWER'S OPINION:
The plot and characters were ok and similar to those in so many romance novels, but the author didn't bring them to light for me. I wasn't emotionally pulled in. I felt like I was going through the motions of reading a book. I wasn't charmed. I wanted it to be over.

I noticed other reviewers mentioned witty conversation and verbal sparring. I didn't find it that entertaining. My view of the sparring was Alex asking questions and Sophie either not answering or being evasive and giving him half answers. Because she was raised outside of England, she had an independent mind and liked to talk about topics that interested men as opposed to women. There was one scene in which Sophie bested an obnoxious man in a verbal debate. All of this might sound good, but the actual conversations didn't do anything for me.

I did enjoy the interaction and fighting between Mirabelle and Whit, friends of Sophie and Alex. Their story is told in the sequel Tempting Fate, which I have not read.

DATA:
Story length: 301 pages. Sexual language: mild. Number of sex scenes: one, 7 pages long. Setting: 1796 and 1811 England. Copyright: 2008. Genre: regency romance.

CAUTION SPOILERS:

I hated Sophie's thinking and actions. She is forced to marry anyone before she turns 25, in order to legally keep her family's estate. She is in love with Alex but won't marry him because she thinks he won't love her back. Instead, she plans to find and marry someone else who does not love her. Later, when Alex tells her he loves her, she runs away from him. Her thinking is that she doesn't want to be happy because karma will make her pay for it by causing something bad to happen. She must leave him because she is too happy. These weak conflict devices annoyed me.

I also did not like that the events surrounding the capture and punishment of the bad guys was told rather than shown. I also never learned and I wanted to know what was going on with Heransly all this time. I was frustrated that the epilogue was stopped prematurely. It stopped in the middle of a conversation. I thought some pages must be missing from my book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 28, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I finished this book in 24 hours and wanted to read it faster but I had to work and my children wanted to be fed!

Sophie Everton has returned to London to experence one season before return on her world adventure with her father. The crown asks her to investage her cousin and his friends because they think they are spying for France. The Crown also gives Duke of Rockeforte a similar tasks. While the Duke of Rockeforte 'watches' Sophie, he finds that he is enchanted and finds ways to spend more time with her. This novel has two very strong main characater who grow into their romance, spys,a strong women who can handle a knife and some great sub-plots. Enjoy!

Looking forward to her next book Tempting Fate (Leisure Historical Romance) due out January 27, 2009 ( Whittaker Cole, Earl of Thurston and Miss Mirabelle Browning story)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I read this after reading the second book in the series, Tempting Fate, so I already understood some of the background. That may have affected how much I got into this one, but I'm not sure. Either way, I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the second book.

The premise was fun, clever even. Johnson is a good writer with effective prose & believable dialogue. The characters are interesting & likeable. What annoyed me most was the ending (not of the love story so much as the adventure part). It was kind of a letdown for me. The heroine annoyed me a bit toward the end, too. Part of me wanted the option to smack her, but she's back to normal in the second book.

Overall this is a good book, & I enjoyed reading it. It's a strong start to a 4-book (I think) series. Again, I recommend the second book more, but reading them in order may be prudent. Either way, I'll probably give book 3 a try sometime in the near-future.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I very much agree with the first 3 critiques but.... was very disappointed in the plots' ending. Totally unbelievable! William Fletcher, Alex's boss, would never have used his office for this purpose. Or at least shouldn't have. And I totally agree with Alex's retribution to William at the end. People could've died or been seriously injured. I just wish Alex had threatened him with quitting too. This should've been written as a real suspense. I also would've liked a more "hands on" retribution to the real bad guys instead of just "we handled them and they're on their way to Australia..", and the Epilogue... other than to have a scene with the elusive Mr. Wang- was pointless. I literally turned the page expecting to read on and there was..... nothing. I kept turning the page back and forth wondering if my book was defective.

That said, this is a witty, LOL funny, with strong and complex alpha male & female lead characters, and an intriguing plot almost until the end, book. And if you can forgive the ending- a "Keeper". I definitely want to read more from this author. Is she a Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz, Shannon Drake/Heather Graham, Stephanie Laurens, Nicole Jordan? Not quite yet but if she keeps writing like this, she just might be. This book was definitely in that caliber.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I closed this book with a happy sigh. I had so much fun reading this! I have to admit something... I am a total sucker for snappy dialogue. I love banter, and if I end up constantly giggling over the snappy exchanges, chances are it's going to be a winner for me. That's exactly the case here.

Sophie is an extremely lucky person. Unfortunately for her, that luck can be either good or bad. Sophie lives a life of checks and balances. For every good thing that happens to her, a bad thing is waiting in the wings. This was pretty funny in the beginning, Sophie really did seem to be disaster prone at times. It also eventually led to my biggest problem with her, but I'll get into that later.

Alex ends up with an assignment that puts him in frequent contact with Sophie. When helping Sophie after a brush with her brand of bad luck, Alex seems to fall flat on his face and never recover. He doesn't fall in love, but he falls headlong into attraction and can't seem to extract himself. No matter how many times he tells himself he's making a fool out of himself over her, he can't seem to resist chasing after her for more.

The focus in this story is very firmly on Sophie and Alex. They spend a large majority of the book together. I adored that aspect of the book. It really seemed like Alex and Sophie became familiar and comfortable with each other long before they fell in love.

The side characters in this book popped. Every time Whit was present, I have to admit he stole the show for me. He was extremely funny, and totally on to his friend's lunatic behavior toward Sophie. I loved seeing his interactions with Mirabelle! I am a sucker for frenemy stories, so I cannot wait to get a chance to read theirs!

If you're looking for a spy book, this is not for you. That plot point is very weak, and pretty easily abandoned. I was fine with that though, because I saw right away what was going on with those "missions." Because of that, I knew that there wouldn't be much focus on the spy thing, except when it served the plot. I was pleased that all my suppositions about that convoluted farce turned out to be correct in the end.

The things that bothered me cropped up toward the end. I liked Sophie's good luck vs. bad luck philosophy until she turned neurotic over "luck" and "fate." It seemed to come out of nowhere, at least to that degree. I found it really irritating and wish it would have been dealt with earlier. I appreciated the fact that Alex didn't just blow off her concerns, he actually tried to find a solution within the bounds of her irritating neurosis.

I was also really irritated by a fear that cropped up out of nowhere near the end. What point did that really serve? The story and the relationship was going along exceedingly well (to my mind at least) without some past angst showing up just because. It was very intrusive and very unwelcome. If that would have been left out I would have been an extremely happy camper.

But even with those few irritants, I still really enjoyed the book and will definitely reread. How can I not want to laugh again over all the hilarious situations that develop whenever they try to kiss? Those cracked me up!!!

I cannot wait to read more of this series!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 17, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well that settles it, Alissa Johnson's books go on my 'auto buy' list. After my first read by her, I went out and got her other book and it's every bit as humorous and funny and well written as the first one I read. And even though I read them out of order, it didn't affect my enjoyment one little bit...they're both going on my keeper shelf!

Sophie's got luck--both sides of it. It seems like for everything good that happens to her something bad happens--and vice versa. After years of traveling the world with her father, she's on her way 'home' to England to have a 'season'. So when just hours from shore, a strange man accosts her with a request 'from the Regent' for her help on a 'secret mission' for England, well...she just figures that's luck. Whether it's good or bad is yet to be seen. But she's faced tigers, so really...how bad can it be?

Alex is a Duke. He's also occasionally an agent for the Crown. But when he's asked to keep an eye on an old-maid debutante? Darn his sense of honor, he'll figure something out. And when he lays eyes on Sophie? He's still fighting his sense of honor, but now it's because he wants Sophie...in every way he shouldn't!

Wonderfully funny, very sexy, zippy dialogue--I even enjoyed the bit of scheming/mystery by the dastardly cousin! Alissa Johnson hits it on all counts and reading this one just made me want to go back and re-read "Tempting Fate" which is connected by characters to this one. If you've been looking for an author who can do 'humorous regency' with passion, then look no further. Alissa Johnson's got it covered. I already pre-ordered her next book, "Mcalistair's Fortune" even though it doesn't hit the shelves until May. She needs to write faster.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2010
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is an OK debut book, and would have gotten a better grade had a few things been different.

Is she seriously considering marrying a man who will mean nothing to her vs marrying a man who she loves? It's because her fear is that he won't love her back? How stupid is stupid!

To suddenly fear karma, fate and luck when it hasn't been an issue throughout the entire book is extremely lame! Almost shockingly rediculous!

To make a list and not include Alex? Are you serious? To not add him because he wouldn't "let" her go live with her father after they married? As if she would want to.

And finally concede to a marriage to Alex under the terms that she provide him an heir within 5 years. Whatever! Her father could have died by then!

With those aspects, and a few vague episodes with potentially very interesting people that could have been outstanding, and probably will improve in time, I found that I did enjoy the book.

The book is a quick read, interesting, and enthralling enough to keep you reading to the end. The characters are fairly well built and easy to follow.

One plus that I really enjoyed about the book is the conversations that took place. They actually get to know each other and spend time together. They don't just fall in love over the way they look at each other and their fantasy daydreams. The kidnapping of the two and their journey back to London was the most exciting part of the book.

I am glad there was not a lot of torrid sex scenes, but several close calls.

One of the best parts of the book is the bickering between Whit and Mirabelle! What a great book that should be!

I think this author will improve in time, just as others do. The book is not a keeper, but it is an enjoyable read.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2008
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
this book is quite entertaining, interesting storyline of spy vs. spy but in a comedic "moonlighting" way. the dialog is great--good verbal sparring and rapport between the main characters. looking forward to her next effort between the imp & the cretin.
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