Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Paid Companion by Amanda Quick ***

I picked this up in hardcover for maybe $1 at a Goodwill store in BR. Now, I have 3 shelves and more of books to read, and why I decided to choose this one this week, I dunno. I think I've read 2 other Amanda Quick books (looking... yes), months ago.

It was, in a short word, OK. There was some funny stuff, and the hero and heroine were slightly outside the norm of romance protagonists. Not much, but slightly. She (Elenora) was the daughter of some titled fellow who died, then the uncle raising her gambled away her worldly goods. So she ended up needing to find work, and what do gently raised but now impoverished women do? Become Paid Companions, generally to elderly women.

He (Arthur) was a titled fellow albeit eccentric-leaning whose young just-out-of-the-schoolroom fiancee had run away with another fellow. As it turns out, Arthur arranged for it, being pretty much bored with the idea of sharing his life with this particular naif. When his great-uncle is murdered, he must go to London to solve the murder. But how does one keep all the marriage-minded mamas at bay without a fiancee? One hires a Paid Companion to pretend to be the fiancee so everyone will leave him alone while he sleuths.

He heads to a Paid Companion Agency where Elenora is searching for her second employer, they meet and ... Both of them being logical to a fault, they agree to terms and go about their business arrangement. And in the acts of pretending and of solving the murder, they fall in love and live Happily Ever After.


This is why it only gets 3 stars. The premise seems interesting enough - I'm happy to buy almost any premise as long as the journey the author takes me on is well done. OK, the writing was fine. The editing was transparent - I didn't notice any misspellings, any historical inaccuracies, any major grammatical no-nos. But the journey itself was just... OK. The almost-ending plot device of "no, I don't want him to offer marriage just because he's ruined me" really ended it for me. That device needs excellent well-placed motives and writing to work, and this story didn't have those.

The murderer wasn't that hard to figure out. The madman's POV wasn't compelling. The H/H relationship was fun, and I saw the growth, but it wasn't enough to sway me into another star.

3 stars.

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