The Perfect Poison–Amanda Quick

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I love these books. Amanda Quick does, in my opinion, the best historical romances with a touch of mystery. I appreciate the mysteries because it gives the story some bite, beyond just plain romance.

In this one, we enter into a bit of a crossover situation. The author has a series under the name Jayne Castle, which are futuristic and paranormal. This book is a historical romance but part of a series with paranormal aspects.

In this case, Lucinda Bromley is a gifted (psychically gifted) botantist and has recognized a rare fern that was stolen from her conservatory in a deadly poison. She teams up with Caleb Jones, who runs the detective agency for the psychical society and they track the poisoner, who is well known to the psychical society for various other unpleasant crimes.

It appears as though he is trying to create the “founder’s formula” which is a potion that should enhance and increase the psychical abilities of the person who takes it. Unfortunately the problem is that the founders formula, in every iteration, works briefly and then works as a poison, driving people crazy before killing them.

So it’s a bit of a race against time. The poison creator is working for some richer men, who are using their psychic powers to kill people and as they get more crazy from the formula, they will become exponentially more dangerous.

Meanwhile, sparks are flying between Lucinda and Caleb.

This is an enjoyable book. I recommend it.

Scandal–Amanda Quick

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Amanda Quick is the pen name of Jayne Ann Krentz when she’s writing historical romances. Her books often contain mystery elements as well as romance, but not so much in this one.

I love Amanda Quick books. They’re usually very well done romances. They’re fast reads but you don’t feel cheated at the end. This one, Scandal, is one of my perennial favorites, and one that I come back to read often when I’m feeling stressed or just burned out on more serious reading material.

In this book, the romance is between Emily Faringdon and Simon Traherne, the Earl of Blade. It is not an auspicious pairing. He seeks her out and seduces her gradually over a series of high-minded letters discussing their (not actually) mutual interest in romantic poetry. She’s innocent, despite an unfortunate scandal in her past where she ran away to marry the local lord, and was not retrieved until they had spent a night unchaperoned at an inn. Nothing happened, of course, these books do hold quite firm to their era’s feelings about the chastity of the heroines, but she’s ruined for society all the same. Regardless, in her innocence she falls in love with the dashing Simon via letters.

She is, of course, disappointed when he arrives on her doorstep as an earl, which puts him quite out of the matrimonial reach of someone with a past. Of course, he doesn’t care and is perfectly willing to take her as she is and turn her into a proper countess. Not out of love for her, but as part of an elaborate revenge scheme he’s running.

As a child, his father lost everything to her father. His father handled it by killing himself in the study. By marrying her, he gets the house and lands back, but also gets to remove all the financial stability from her father and brothers, because as an inveterate gambler, her father ran through the money many years ago and only Emily’s careful and prudent investments are keeping them afloat. Hence, the plan is: marry Emily and regain the house and lands as a dowry, and then keep her from replenishing the funds and watch her father and brother slide into financial and social ruin.

After the wedding, they move to London where Emily becomes popular and fashionable, until tragedy strikes in the guise of the threat of her scandal coming back to haunt her.

Obviously, it’s a romance and everything works out in the end. It’s a fun, entertaining read. The sex scenes are fairly explicit, so if that is not your taste, perhaps steer clear.