Monday, March 26, 2012

Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea, by Sophia Nash - Review

Words Fail Me
I liked this book so much I don't even know how to review it.

Oh, sure, I've seen Nash's books around.  I follow her FaceBook page,  I've seen her comment here and there on various romance blogs.

And yet, I've never picked one up.  If you're like me, and you haven't either, for reasons you don't quite understand, I suggest you get the heck over it, because she is fantastic.  The cover blurb from the Chicago Times says it "Gleams with sharp wit" -- I don't know about gleaming, but the wit?  Verrrrrrrry sharp.

If you like Julia Quinn and Loretta Chase, I think you'll like Sophia Nash (and if you don't, then we can't be BFFs any more, because REALLY?? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU??)

So, I've read a lot of serial books that end with a cliff-hanger, but this might be the first book that starts with one. Literally.  Hanging from a cliff.

Here, I'm going to be a little lazy and pull a quote from the excerpt on Nash's page:

She looked toward the place from which she had fallen. “He saw me fall and he left me to die.

He slowly stood up.

“Where are you going?

He repositioned himself behind her and grasped her shoulders to ease the stiffness. “Can you feel your arms? How long were you waiting for him?”
“I don’t know. I think it all happened about half past four.”

God, she’d been there for nearly three hours.

ok, so in the middle here, they do a little more getting-acquainted schtick, but then, I just love this chapter-ending exchange:

She hesitated. “So, you’ll help me, then? Really?”

“Alexandre Barclay—your servant.” That ringing in his head, which always preceded regret, sounded in his ears. “So . . . what precisely did you have in mind?”

“Do you have a pistol?” She studied him with her big, round honey-colored eyes and a smile that made him nervous. “Or, perhaps, a lovely little dagger?”

The interactions between the couple are so light and delicious, and the farcical business with the would-be-brides so ridiculous (the one with the lisp was particularly memorable touch "Wittle animals, Yow Gwace?" -- she sounds just like Tweety Bird in my head)...that the reader almost forgets that the story opens with an attempted murder. And the murderer is more or less untouchable. After all, the whole cliff-hanging business is more than a bit cartoonish, as is the villain.

However, the story takes a surprisingly dark turn. If you think about it, there is really only one way that the problem of her limbo-ish marital status can resolve into a proper romance Happily Ever After, and it proves quite troublesome for both of them. Nash could have continued in the farcical vein, and done it very well, but I thought the touch of grittiness at the end lent some gravitas to the hero and made the HEA that much more appreciated.

Nash's prose really does speak for itself, she doesn't need me to find more reasons or conduct more analysis to convince you. Pick a book, flip to a random page, and I challenge you not to be drawn in. Strongly recommend!


Marg said...

Like you, I have seen Nash's books around but I haven't tried one yet. I might have to put her on my list!

Nicola O. said...

I saw one commenter on another review that said Nash was hit or miss for her... but I sure liked this title!

Shannon said...

Wow, compelling review. Now I need to add this to my TBR list. (Isn't it great when you read a book that is so good you don't quite know how to do it justice as a reviewer? :)

Nicola O. said...

Thanks Shannon! it's always a compliment when someone acts on my opinion (or maybe I just enable another addiction, heh). I don't think you'll regret giving this one a try.

laura said...

I've now read everything Julia Quinn has written. I almost sent her a tweet asking for shopping lists when the shakes and hallucinations I dove into your blog and here is my next obsession: Sophia Nash. I've seen this book before but the cover is...well...a little cheesy and...well...the art is a little third rate so I was--yes--judging a book by it's cover. But I trust you're taste and opinion of what "delicious" dialogue is so I'm taking the plunge and will hopefully be emersed in Ms. Nash's novels the next few months.


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