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Lord of Deceit (Heiress Games) (Volume 2) Paperback – July 1, 2016
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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PRAISE FOR THE HEIRESS GAMES SERIES:
"Ms. Ramsey has the knack for writing snappy, humorous dialogue and there's much to enjoy in their verbal sparring, which is often funny and poignant - sometimes at the same time - and I enjoyed the insights we were given into the Briarley family dynamic through the ages. They sound like a completely bonkers lot!" - Caz, All About Romance
"The passion fire and chemistry between Gavin and Callie is scorching and the writing flows so perfectly that you forget you a reading a story. This is a truly magnificent piece of art and should be appreciated as such." - Jessi, Goodreads
"Amazing book! And I sincerely believe Sara Ramsey is one of the best among the regency romances authors. Her stories are never trivial, her heroines unpredictable and unusual for the time, strong, smart and funny and her male protagonists are absolutely magnificent." - Cinzia, Goodreads
"Sara Ramsey delivers another story as only she knows how. I have read every single one of Sara's books and I can say I've never been disappointed. Her stories are the kind you can't ever put down once you start reading." - Evie Knight, In Love With Romance
"Sara Ramsey just gets better with each book. Octavia and Rafael are a revelation." - Dana Grisham
"Sara Ramsey has woven an intricate and utterly compelling story around deceit, hypocrisy, and revenge unlike anything I've ever read before. Octavia and Rafe are amongst the most fascinating and complex characters I have ever seen, and Octavia ranks as one the strongest, fiercest, most intriguing women I have ever seen....Such a rare talent is not seen that often, and I will be awaiting the next book in this series with bated breath, as it promises to be as wonderful as LORD OF DECEIT." - Monique Daoust, Buried Under Romance
About the Author
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AUTHOR: Sara Ramsey
SERIES: Heiress Games (Book 2)
SETTING: Regency, Devonshire
THEMES/TROPES: revenge, scandalous past, family conflict, “surprise virgin”
Four years ago, Octavia Briarley was a flirtatious debutante who engaged in an innocent kiss, and that one act tied her up in tragedy, scandal, and familial conflict that led her to a choice: languish in disgrace or make a new, even more disgraceful, life for herself. Now her family estate is up for grabs in a bizarre social contest, in which she and her two cousins must try to out-marry one another before the end of a house party. Octavia harbors confused feelings about her cousin Lucy, once her best friend, but a major player in the events that turned her life upside down, and she’s more interested in ruining Lucy’s marriage prospects at the party than pursuing her own.
Lord Rafael Emmerson-Fairhusrt, dragged to the house party by his scheming brother, also has plans of revenge against a man who scorned his sister—the same man Octavia has come to know very well since her disgrace. In his quest for knowledge, Rafe finds himself wrapped up in Octavia’s plans, pursuing silly schemes with the fascinating young woman until they both find that their desire for revenge has been drowned out by more important goals.
I'm a big fan of Sara Ramsey's writing and the characters she creates. She seems to favor slightly older, less conventional heroines, which aligns more with a modern idea of a romance heroine than what one expects for a Regency heroine. While it can feel a little unrealistic, the unconventional heroines and their bold choices make for interesting plots with credible emotional journeys, rather than the ridiculously drawn out misunderstandings and unwillingness to love that are often used to structure the plots of stories based on more typical Regency heroines.
Octavia’s past choices set up a story with a heroine who is much more innocent than Society believes her to be, which is an idea I really enjoy in historical romances; it allows the heroine to act bold and worldly while maintaining a lot of the emotional complexity of a young lady navigating sex and love for the first time.
Octavia and Rafe are both well-constructed characters, though I think Octavia's motives and decisions are more plausible. He relationship with her cousin, Lucy, has a pleasing complexity, and it is well-integrated into the plot of the story. Her warring feelings of love for her home, her wish for revenge against someone she doesn't truly hate, her doubts about her reception in Society, and her uncertainty about what she wants from life are all so human and very well intertwined.
As for sex scenes, Sara Ramsey writes great ones. Rafe and Octavia's are wonderfully playful, and the aforementioned "more innocent than Society believes" quality is most notable and enjoyable here; it does become a little disruptive/awkward to the sex, but in a way that plays very well into the emotional story.
One last thing to note is how pleasantly this story rolls into the Heiress Games series. I very much appreciated that the events of Duke of Thorns, the first book in this series, which overlaps this story, are mentioned, discussed, or viewed briefly, but not rehashed. I don't like when contemporaneous events in a series are reiterated from a different perspective; it's sort of interesting from a literary perspective, and certainly a useful exercise for the writer, but I tend to think "I already know what happens here, let's move along." The series is doing an excellent job of working with overlapping plot lines so far.
Rafe has a really interesting background, and I was disappointed that his military/government involvement wasn't more deeply involved in the plot. I did like that his current secretive connection with the government, his resulting appearance of purposelessness, and how the ton and his family view him because of it were well woven into his character. His relationship with his sisters was also nicely developed, which made his motivations--a desire for revenge on behalf of a slighted sister--almost understandable, but I just didn't find it credible. Every time he mentioned his desire to ruin the lord who had encouraged and then insulted his sister, I thought "well, that seems a little extreme," or "are you still worried about that?" or "seriously? Your sister seems to be over it; why aren't you?" I think that Rafe could have been given a more believable and pressing mission to bring him into Octavia's life, but I also appreciate a story without a lot of external drama (e.g. war, spies, attempted murder), so I'm not complaining too much.
Writing: 5/5 Always good from Sara Ramsey.
Characters: 4/5 Well-rounded, some less believable motives.
Plot: 5/5 Both fun and emotion-driven.
Setting: 4/5 Well-painted and detailed.
Romance: 5/5 Flirtatious and well-developed.
Sexiness: 5/5 Playful and delightful.
Humor: 4/5 Bits of humor spread throughout.
Average: 4.57 Playful and Emotionally Complex
This is the second of the three Heiress Games books, which all take place during the same house party, at which the three heroines, who are cousins, are competing to win the family estate. The series includes quite a bit of the leads from Ramsey’s previous series, Muses of Mayfair. I'm a huge fan of Ferguson (the hero of the first Muses of Mayfair book), who is a more distant cousin of the Heiress Games ladies, so I always love the inclusion of his meddling.
EDIT: This review has been updated to re-organize the original content.
Octavia Briarley is a ruined woman, 4 years ago Octavia was the Incomparable of the season, but a stolen kiss at a ball started a chain reaction of events that lead to the death of the man she kissed, her brother, the end of her friendship with her cousin Lucy and her total ruin in the eyes of the ton. To escape the boredom of the country and her cousin Lucy, Octavia accepts the offer to become the mistress of the Earl of Somerville.
Fast forward 4 years, Lord Rafael Emmerson-Fairhurst aka Rafe (the brother of Gavin, Duke of Thorington) is looking for revenge. Somerville slighted his sister and Rafe is bent on destroying him. He hatches a plan to use Octavia to bring down Somerville.
This book really seemed to drag for me, it was well written and flowed, but it was a bit boring and given the subject material - I am surprised that I felt that way. Maybe the problem was me - I am not a fan of revenge stories and this book is all about that - both from Rafe and Octavia.
As always Ms. Ramsey delivers an outstanding declaration of love scene (she does declarations of love better than almost any other author I have read). But sadly, for me even that wasn't enough to make me love the book. I loved the first book in the series so much that perhaps I expected too much from this one.
Even though I didn't love this book, I would recommend it and I am looking forward to the next book that features Lucy.