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Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Flashback

From November 2002:

Wicked Lies by Laura Renken*. Historical romance.

Wicked Lies is definitely a good title for this book. Lies and deception are behind almost everything that happens in it.

It was fascinating watching these two very loyal, responsible, determined people dance around each other and slowly untangle the net of lies surrounding them.

The circumstances of their first meeting hardly inspired trust. Catherine protecting her brother, Julian protecting his identity. I loved the irony of neither one trusting the other, yet having to rely on each other to escape and survive.

Laura pushed the boundaries here by making their first sexual encounter more about affirming that they're still alive than about falling in love. Not that I think Catherine would have had sex with just
anyone at that point---there was an attraction---but I think it mostly a matter of needing to connect to someone after being in such danger.

The boundaries get pushed again when Julian turns out to be Catherine's brother-in-law. I was surprised that they had such different memories of Patrick, but he, too, wasn't what he seemed.

I don't want to get into too many details in case someone's reading this who hasn't read the book yet, but Julian and Catherine aren't the only ones deceiving each other.

What I liked so much about this book is that it took one of my least favorite conflicts---one of the characters keeping a secret from the other---and turned it into one of my most favorite types of story: a convoluted tale in which nothing is what it seems. And of course Merlin is very like the Scarlet Pimpernel, my favorite story from my childhood.

The secondary characters are engaging as well. I was very upset with Catherine's family in the beginning, but they redeemed themselves, especially Daniel.
You can read the entire thread, including a conversation with the author, here.

* Laura Renken is a.k.a. Melody Thomas.

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