OK, I'll admit - my absolute favorite thing about this book is that the real hero is Merlin's pet hedgehog. Oh, there's a human hero, of the usual tall, dark and handsome type, for love interest - but it's the hedgehog who really saves the day. He's a perfectly natural hedgehog, not an anthropomorphized animal - he just does his hedgehogly thing. As the human slave to three pet hedgehogs, I got a great kick out of him.
Let's see. Merlin hasn't invented quite as many things as Ayla (you may remember Ayla, from the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series - Ayla domesticates the horse, Ayla domesticates the dog, Ayla invents the slingshot, Ayla invents the sewing needle, Ayla invents the cotton gin - no wait, that was someone else...) but she has her share - the telephone, and, more importantly to the English forces arrayed against Napoleon, the hang glider.
This is the only romance novel I've ever even tried to convince a guy to read, and the guy liked it. He missed a bit, not being as familiar with all the "conventions" of Regency era romances as most regular readers of them are, but he still enjoyed it.
Very fun story, unique characters and situations. Good depth and detail , both for the characters and the story. My favorite book so far by this author.
I thought this was a really fun romance. At first I found Merlin's lack of focus irritating but then I decided to just go with it and ended up enjoying it a lot.
At times I wished that Merlin would open her eyes and see what was going on around her. Because of her inattention it was pitifully easy for Ransom (or Mr. Duke to Merlin) to manipulate her into doing what he wanted her to. Truthfully I don't blame him for his schemes. It's human nature to seize an opportunity that would benefit you. I did like that a lot of his schemes backfired and he turned out worse for it. It made me feel like there wasn't quite as much of a power imbalance between the two as you would first assume.
There were quite a few interesting secondary characters. I never felt that they horned in on any time that should be devoted to Merlin and Ransom (which was nice for a change). I thought they added something special to the story and felt that some element which made me enjoy the story so much would be missing if we hadn't gotten to know them so well.
I do wish that a little more time had been spent on what exactly was going on with that salt. We, the reader, know what it was, but if you were in the story and didn't have a reader's perspective wouldn't you have been more concerned with what your Mutton was spiked with? I just expected it to matter more to Ransom. Even just a vague question after the fact of what exactly that was would have satisfied me. Oh well, it wasn't that big of a deal.
After a while of reading I started to love Merlin's quirkiness. I can't think of any other female character I've read that was like that, so it was very nice to have a unique heroine. At first I thought that it was odd that Merlin didn't really connect the dots with how babies are made, especially after we find out that Merlin knows anatomy. However, after thinking about it for a while I realized that it did make sense. I don't think she didn't know how babies were made so much as she just never really thought about it long enough to connect the dots. I mean look how she was the second time around with sex. She didn't really remember until it started happening again and then it all clicked for her. I kind of felt bad for Ransom because it was so easy for her to ignore him and focus on something else. He'd try to get her to eat or have a conversation and it was like she wasn't there with him.
I think one of my favorite aspects of the story was Merlin's interaction with the children. I cracked up at her first meeting with them. I loved when she defensively told them she didn't have any sweets. I felt bad for both Merlin and Ransom over their different views of the aviation machine. I could see both their sides and sympathized with both too. I was amused by Merlin's constant need to be rescued. I loved when they joked about it toward the end. I also liked how they made Ransom have a real fear that he couldn't get over even when he knew he wasn't being reasonable.
I definitely recommend this book, but I do have to warn you that if you're expecting another Flowers From the Storm as you open this book you will be disappointed. It's very good and show's the author's skill, but it's a much different style from Flowers From the Storm even though they're both good in their own way.
I love Laura Kinsale. Her characters are so human, her stories so vivid and descriptive. Having said that, with this story, I was a little confused about why Ransomm fell in love with Merlin...she was young, naive, VERY sheltered and didn't understand even the most simple jests. She in her own right was adorably preoccupied with her inventions but the love story just didn't seem to stick with me as there wasn't much of one. Just Ransomms feelings mainly. There really wasn't a basis for it...She didn't contribute much to the relationships growth as a whole...I'm still trying to figure it out. But Laura is an amazing author and I always enjoy her books. Can't put them down, actually.
To the stars the hard way. This is a lovely book about 2 very different people, a woman inventor and a spy master. I will not tell anything of the plot, which is good. If you want a sweet, yet good sex scenes, read get this book.