Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: Emerald by Lauren Royal (4.5 stars, historical)

Full Description: Amazon

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Thoughts After Reading:
My guess is that Lauren Royal had quite a bit of fun writing Emerald, because I definitely had fun reading it. It was another book that's been waiting on a to-read list for a while (this time on my "historical" list), and I'm glad I finally picked it up. The book actually takes place in Restoration England for a change, which occurred in the latter half of 1600s. My initial impression was that Emerald was a lighthearted adventure storyline. And it was, to a large degree. There's a great deal of comedy, and the way the two protagonists start traveling together is reasonably plausible - but it's also rather silly. At the same time, there's definitely deeper elements to story, both in regards to the adventure and to the romance.

The heroine is a daughter of a Scottish baronet, and the author plays up her Scottish heritage for the most humor possible. As an example, the heroine often quotes these Scottish sayings from her mother, and - after being "translated" - they had me laughing out loud at times. Toward the beginning of the story, the heroine's father dies. The heroine decides to track down her loving yet wayward brother, to convince him to sign the estate over to her. Her character could probably best be described as quick witted yet impetuous (and occasionally naive). The hero, meanwhile, is one of those people who mean well but often end up messing things up further. He also has an almost exaggerated feeling of responsibility for all of his actions, since he tries to live up to his image of his father. The hero is an English lord, and he's trying to track down an evil man (the main antagonist). Through a series of events, the hero and heroine end up crossing paths while the hero is trying to fight the main antagonist. As the description of the novel promises, the hero is sure the heroine is a famous bounty hunter despite her insistent protestations to the contrary (the bounty hunter is Scottish, wears men's clothing, and carries a pistol). During the hero's fight, he accidentally injures the heroine. He decides to keep her close, because he feels responsible for the injury and thinks she's going to get herself killed trying to earn the bounty he offered for the main antagonist. And that really sets the stage for the majority of the book; much of it takes place as they travel. The witty repartee between the protagonists is entertaining and at times quite amusing, and I felt the romance developed quite nicely. The two characters really get to know each other's characters well, despite their tendency to annoy each other :). I lowered the rating on the book half a star because of the romance conflict toward the ending. It wasn't handled badly per say, but it wasn't quite up to the standard set by the rest of the book. I was a bit bothered how the hero kept the romance going even though he thought he was on borrowed time, as well as the fact that the conflict turned out to be almost completely not an issue. I was still satisfied with the ending, though, and found the book extremely well-written up to and after that point.

As a whole, I found Lauren Royal's Emerald to be a really good read. It was a funny and lighthearted yet meaningful on-the-road romance, set in an unusual historical era. It's a book I would recommend without reservation, and I certainly plan on checking out the other books in Royal's series.

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