A rather unevenly paced story, that started strong but housed so many inconsistent moments that I was confused then frustrated with unanswered questions and character traits that were wholly unconnected to the rather ponderous backstories presented for the main characters left me rather ‘meh’ about this whole book.
Starting strong with Max and his search for his half sister, he joins a gang of body snatchers (there is no better way to explain the grave-robbery and cadaver trade in the early 1800’s) whose leader was the last known contact of his missing sister. Madeline has disappeared without a trace, a slightly odd start as she was a woman of ‘quality’ and her travelling in circles that could lead to her abduction, or even her introduction to Hurtsill was my first ‘hmmm’ moment. But, I liked Max, his determination and steadfast collection of information.
Abigail is the daughter of an intellectual – with no mother, her actual knowledge of things anatomical is vast, if all from books. Her people skills, however, are lacking as is her judgment and lack of any of the expected ‘missishness’ that would come from some of the words she uses without embarrassment. Her interactions with Max, as an organ broker, are fraught with tension, and she is simultaneously intrigued and infuriated by his mannerisms and looks.
Of course, these two are slated for a romance – a bit of foreshadow and some completely transparent increases in her provocative use of language ( and an educated person would use the proper, not street slang for body parts) almost as a challenge, without shyness, then a retreat to naivete just didn’t hold true for me. And it rather ruined any potential interest that I would have had in a connection between these two.
Midway into the book, subplots of kidnapping and dangerous moments of near discovery were added, further muddying the initial waters of Max’s search, and his reasons for not coming clean to Abigail even when obviously has her affection and trust. Usually one of my favorite genres, the scene, place and feel were all muddled, and it felt very unfocused: the questions just kept multiplying as answers diminished.
Secondary characters came and went, several not providing more than a placeholder for a single purpose, and then dropped as if not needed. Hint – they weren’t. In fact. I can remember little past the wonderful premise and promising hero, disappointing heroine and a long and protracted crawl to the finish. Sadly, this title missed me on the romance and the mystery – and as an introduction to this author’s work, was disappointing.
Title: A Matter of Grave Concern
Author: Brenda Novak
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Montlake Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 25 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes
Bestselling author Brenda Novak unearths love in the darkest of places.
When Maximillian Wilder hides his noble identity and joins the notorious body snatchers known as the London Supply Company, the last thing on his mind is love. He’s worried about Madeline, his vanished half sister, who was last seen in the company of Jack Hurtsill, the gang’s conscienceless leader. Raiding graveyards, stealing corpses, and selling them to medical colleges as dissection material is dirty work, but Max knows he must gain Jack’s trust. He’s determined to find out what happened to Madeline—and to bring Jack to justice if she was murdered for the coin her body could earn.
Beautiful, spirited Abigail Hale, daughter of the surgeon at Aldersgate School of Medicine, detests the challenging, hard-bargaining Max almost as much as Jack. But she must procure the necessary specimens if she is to save the college and her father’s career. She believes she is going to be successful—until Jack double-crosses her. Then she’s swept into a plot of danger and intrigue, one where Max must intervene to protect her, no matter the risk to his plan…or his heart.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.