Romance Book ReviewsThe Internet Writing Journal, February 2005 Page Two of Two
Highlander in Disguise by Julia LondonPocket Star, February, 2005
Paperback: 384 pages
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Years ago, the Lockhart clan split into two factions: the Scottish faction, which is currently on the verge of bankruptcy, and the English faction which is blessed with material goods. In the first book in this series (the delightful Highlander Unbound), the eldest of the Scottish Lockhart brothers went to London to retrieve an acient clan treasure -- a golden "beastie" -- which will solve the family's money problems. But the eldest brother failed in his task, although he did bring home a wife. Now, it is the second brother Grif's turn. So he heads to London, masquerading as an Earl during the season. Grif is handsome and polished, unlike his elder brother, and has no trouble fitting in with society. Grif is on the trail of a woman named Amelia, who last had the beastie. At a ball, he meets Anna Addison, who quickly sees through his disguise. Anna has her eye on the English Lockhart cousin, Drake, but Drake only has eyes for Anna's little sister. So Anna blackmails Grif into helping her snare Drake for her own. But of course, her little scheme doesn't proceed exactly as she planned.
Although Highlander in Disguise is the second book in a trilogy, it stands alone as a story. Julia London has taken a familiar device -- the heroine asking the hero to help her win another man -- and given it a fresh twist. Julia London has a deft hand with dialogue and the story is liberally laced with humor and sex appeal, making for a most entertaining read.
Time Rogues by Kay AustinLove Spell, January, 2005
Paperback, 308 pages
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Mackenzie Cates has worked very hard to bring the Pompeii exhibit to the Dallas museum where she works, and dreams of one day being the museum director. The only fly in the ointment is the imminent arrival of her old flame Dr. Moran, a handsome archeologist who is currently working in the ruins of Pompeii. One night, she sees one of the plaster casts of a victim of Pompeii move. Always a bit psychic, like her beloved Granny Moon, Mackenzie somehow frees the Time Rogue Dak from his prison inside the plaster cast. When Rick shows up, and the entity takes over his body, Mac, Rick and Dak must find a way to put everything in the timeline right. The Time Rogues are like time cops; they are from the future and travel back in time to fix problems. Only this time, it's Dak that has caused a time rift because of his love for a slave girl in ancient Pompeii.
Time Rogues has a great plotline for a time traveling romantic suspense novel. The dialogue is funny, and Mack is a likeable, interesting character. Ms. Austin could clearly write excellent science fiction; the plot really zings when the Time Rogues organization is front and center. Also well done are the scenes involving internal politicking for the directorship of the museum. Somewhat less successful are the interactions with the Dallas locals, such as the superfluous (and extremely annoying) Bubba. The sequence of events is at times confusing; some judicious editing would have helped immensely. If the flashbacks are deleted and the story told in a more linear and internally logical fashion in the next Time Rogues book, this series has the potential to garner a loyal following.
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