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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Audio Book Review: Blood for Ink: The Scarlet Plumiere Series, Book 1 by L. L. Muir

This is a delightfully fun romantic engagement of wits with a dash of danger.
Blood for Ink: The Scarlet Plumiere Series, Book 1
Written by: L. L. Muir
Narrated by: Jim McCance
Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
Series: The Scarlet Plumiere Series, Book 1
Release Date:01-18-13
Publisher: Lesli Muir Lytle
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
If he unmasks her, she's as good as dead....
As the mysterious writer who exposes gentlemen's secrets, it is not the first time The Scarlet Plumiere has been hunted. But this time it's different. This time, she interferes with one of the Four Kings, and the brotherhood will not rest until they marry her off and place her securely under a man's thumb. Only they have to catch her first.
The Earl of Northwick is falling for this writer, sight unseen. Will she be pretty? Will she have all her teeth? In his rush to claim her for himself, regardless of who she might ultimately be, he places her in grave danger - her desperate enemies are watching closely for the moment her mask is removed.
Blood for Ink is a full-length Regency romance and is the first of four novels in The Scarlet Plumiere Series. The sequel is Bones for Bread and an excerpt is included at the end of Blood for Ink.
©2012 Lesli Muir Lytle (P)2012 Lesli Muir Lytle

The Earl of Northwick, North, is one of the Four Kings, four men who fought in the war, escaped with some mental if not physical injuries, and are stalwart bachelors in the ton. One of their group is engaged to be married but his reputation is sullied by innuendos from a columnist known as The Scarlet Plumiere. This is a woman who reports the bad behavior of ‘supposed gentlemen’ in an effort to save the women who might otherwise fall prey to those wicked and false men. This time the Plumiere has made false statements and North and his friends are determined to uncover her identity and rein her in. They decide the best way to control her will be to get her married to a strong husband. The men set out a unique and reckless method to choose a husband. Next they have to find a way to unmask her.

North finds himself charmed and fascinated by the wit and cleverness of The Plumiere. He fantasizes about her other attributes too. He begins a dialogue in the paper where they exchange challenges and North announces publicly that he plans to marry the woman when he finds her. He is sure he can lure her out and is set to expose her before he realizes the danger she will be in.

The Scarlet Plumiere keeps her secrets close. She has a fine line of information that helps her to expose men of immoral or untrustworthy behavior. She is enjoying her written exchange with “Mr. Lot”, aka North, who drew the lot to marry her. However, when the Four Kings set out spies to uncover clues to her name and informants she is almost too late to realize the grave danger this presents to her and her loved ones. After all she has ruined the lives of several gentleman who would be more than happy to know her identity so they could take revenge.

Olivia, Livvy, has been a recluse since the scandal of her broken engagement two years ago. She was about to marry a wealthy man of the ton until The Scarlet Plumiere exposed his unnatural habits and despicable plans towards his intended bride. Livvy has also stayed close to home to take care of her father. She is just beginning to think she might venture out in society when the Earl of Northwick appears at her door. She would avoid him except that he has already been ushered in to visit with her father so she must intervene.

Livvy remembers the Four Kings as young boys when she had a crush on North. She never expected to have the chance to gain his adult attention. She is nervous that he has sought her out because he hopes she can provide assistance in finding the true name of The Scarlet Plumiere. North is enchanted by Livvy’s intelligence and finds himself caught between his desire for two women, the one he is sharing time with and the one he wants to find and protect. His friends rally around to offer support and the danger escalates.

I really enjoyed the smart repartee between the characters, which includes the men as well as the Plumiere and Olivia. I found myself chuckling and all was good until about a third into the book. Unfortunately Olivia starts acting like an idiot and making some stupid mistakes that diminished her strong character in my opinion. North and his friends make a wonderful crew of heroes, each adding depth through their own personalities.

I enjoyed the characters, the dialogue and the plot. I got past the lunacy and went with the danger and the humor of the story. I would really like to read more in the series and look forward to a  romance for Ashmore.

Audio Notes: It was very strange to start listening and realize the narrator was a deep voiced male which seemed incongruous for a romance. (Although I can think of a couple of excellent male narrators who do great with romance, i.e. Simon Vance.) It only took a few minutes for me to appreciate the presentation by Jim McCance who is able to capitalize through the point of view of Northwick and his friends. By the time the POV shifted to Olivia I was totally enjoying the narration. If you listen to a sample try to be open minded because the voice might just grow on you. I will look for more audios narrated by Mr. McCance.

I received this audio through AudioBook Jukebox for an honest review. It qualifies for AudioBook Challenge.

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