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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know there are certain authors whose books I will NOT pass up reading. Elizabeth Camden is one of them. I wasn’t as keen on the last novel that came out. (You’ll find my review here.) But she hits the mark with a vengeance with her latest, A Dangerous Legacy. Bonus: This is, at least, a two-book series. She tells the heroine’s brother’s story in A Daring Venture, releasing in 2018.

One of the things I enjoy most about her stories are the unusual professions/tidbits she includes. (You’d expect no less from a research librarian.) In this story, the hero is a Reuters executive, and the heroine, a telegraph operator for the Associated Press—rivals in journalism. But it’s the hero’s use of homing pigeons that provides a fun and bittersweet interest.

Have you any experience with homing pigeons,” he asked as he extracted a tiny strip of paper from the tube.

“I didn’t realize anyone still used them.”

“Not many people do, but it was how Reuters made a name for itself during it’s early years, and I believe in keeping tradition alive.”

She glanced at the strip of paper. “And tonight’s dress code warrants top-secret delivery by homing pigeon?”

“My butler thought so.” 

“You have a butler?” She thought butlers had gone the way of homing pigeons.

“Just because I’m stationed in the hinterlands doesn’t mean I ought to surrender all the comforts of civilization. Of course I have a butler. A footman, a valet, and a housekeeper, too.

Lucy Drake and her brother are fighting a forty-year legal battle with a relative over a successful plumbing invention. Their purpose is altruistic. The relative’s? Not so much. But the battle is taking a toll and getting dangerous.

Colin Beckwith is an English aristocrat with a moldering estate and the need for a wealthy wife. The problem arises when he meets Lucy. While Colin is steadfast in his plan to marry into money, the author gives him a good reason, along with that proper English “stiff upper lip.” She also gives him a fear that brings him off the lofty heights he might otherwise occupy in his mind and in the minds of others. 

I won’t go into detail about the physical peril that lurks for the two of them, but it’s a desperate situation. My only issue was with an instance in which they escape a potentially dangerous episode and immediately seem to feel all is well. “Phew! We escaped that and we can go on about our lives.” (My quote. It’s not in the book.) Had it been me, I would have continued to look over my shoulder, knowing the threat remained. It seemed a bit unrealistic, and I kept wondering why Colin wasn’t worried about Lucy.

The romance is there, of course, but somewhat muted (for a romance novel). However, I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, their issues, and the theme of not sacrificing our lives—our “souls”—to bitterness and circumstances that won’t bring happiness. A must read just for the evil conspiracy.

How important to you is the romance factor in a novel?