Andrea Penrose: Sweet Revenge A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery



Ked our two main characters Lady Arianna and Sandro de uincy Earl of Saybrook I found the mystery twisty with a very clever and unusual scheme at its core There are some nicely fleshed out secondary characters especially Saybrook s doctor friend Baz and the Machiavellian government minister GrenthamI m looking forward to the next book Super into this book It s been sitting on my kobo for months and I finally picked it up I really really enjoy how Andrea Penrose sets up her plots and characters This is particularly excellent It s a good example of two characters who don t uite fit into traditional society finding each other I really enjoy how Arianna and Saybrook complement each other and both are uite competent They work as both adversaries and then allies Plus the supporting cast and dialogue are strong and there s lots of discussion of chocolateVery much a fan Meh I like historical mysteries but while the research is clear in this one there is also a messiness about how the characters think and act that made it not work for me Lady Arianna Hadley has been exiled in the Caribbean for ears due to her father s disgrace When he father is murdered Arianna vows to get revenge Years later Arianna is finally in the position to exact her revenge and disguises herself as a male chef in an English household However when the Prince Regent falls ill after eating from her table Arianna finds herself under suspicion bringing her plans for revenge to a haltThe half Spanish Earl of Saybrook Alessandro De uincy is called in to investigate the apparent poisoning by chocolate of the Prince Regent due to Saybrook s his eccentric interest in all things chocolate Saybrook not only discovers that the accused chef is a woman but also that she has a target on her back These reluctant partners have to work together if they hope to discover who truly has it out for the Prince Regent and it just might coincide with Arianna s revenge Sweet Revenge was not as cozy as I was expecting it to be When I first saw the cover I labeled this as Einführung in die deutsche Sprache der Wissenschaften your typical cozy mystery it s mystery centers around food after all how complex could it be uite complex as it turns out I was uite surprised by the level of historical detail about both the time period and chocolate as a new substance for consumption in England While all of these detail created an authentic mystery I personally found that it came at the expense of fully developed charactersThe novel focuses mainly on the mystery element both Arianna s investigation into her father s murder and Saybrook s into the poisoning of the Prince Regent At first the dynamic between Arianna and Saybrook was great They were both interesting and enigmatic characters I wanted to know about both of them The initial interactions between them were entertaining and fraught with tensionHow doou intend to stop me Chain me up in some remote castle dungeon like the dastardly Spanish villain in that silly horrid novel by Mrs Radcliffe Actually Arianna had found the book uite entertaining but that was beside the point Ye mean The Mysteries of Udolpho asked Henning helpfully Yes that s the one she said Montoni was Italian murmured Saybrook Mea culpa retorted Arianna And that is Latin he pointed out You she said slowly are an overeducated aristocratic ass Hemming stifled a snort And The Defense (Eddie Flynn you countered Saybrook are a bloody thorn in my lordly posterior p 166While the initial tension between the characters was good it never really went anywhere The romance or attraction between the characters came second to the mystery plot and because of that I never really got the sense of a real relationship between the two Nowou may say But this is only the first book Surely this will change as the series progresses At this point I have read all three books in the series and there is never any real development in Arianna and Saybrook s relationship Readers are simply told that a relationship has developed but I never got any evidence of this So if Hai nhà you re going into this one intrigued by the romantic element to the books expect a very toned down romance that is tell than showAnother thing to note is that the author intersperses chocolate recipes at the beginning of each chapter in all three books of the series While these recipes are tempting I really felt that they serve to bring the reader out of the historical setting at least ifou bother reading them which I eventually stopped doing The references to modern conveniences in the recipes served to jar the reader right out of the historical atmosphere that the author did such a good job of creating Further I didn t really feel that the recipes really added anything important to the story they were simply a distraction for meWhile I like the historical setting of Sweet Revenge and the next two books in the series I couldn t get past the rather flat characters Further I thought the mystery plot came at the expense of character development Anything related to the characters seemed to be simply tossed into the book so that the plot could return to the mystery which ultimately let to a disjointed reading experienceReview originally published at The Book Adventures. Et in exchange for help in tracking down the real culprit As their search takes them from the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair to the slums of St Giles it becomes clear that someone is looking to plunge England into chaos and Arianna and Saybrook to the bottom of the Thames.

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Tarts with a delicious chocolate themed recipeAs the book begins we learn that Lady Arianna Hadley has disguised herself as a male French chef working in the home of a lady known to entertain aristocrats and even the Prince Regent himself She is on a uest to discover who murdered her father an aristocrat who was forced to flee to the Caribbean in disgraceThe sudden illness of the Prince Regent following one of Arianna s unusual desserts brings trouble to the house including the Earl of Saybrook a chocolate aficionado The initial verbal sparring between Arianna and Saybrook is highly engaging and when it becomes obvious that Arianna is in grave danger the two must flee Arianna abandons her male disguise and can move fairly freely as a woman since her previous ruse was largely unknownThe number of mysteries Arianna and Saybrook must solve continues to build and et they all seem to tie together That was one of the aspects of this book I greatly enjoyed I really liked the lead characters but I also enjoyed seeing how the various threads of plot kept weaving together to build uite a web of intrigueThe book drags at a few spots because the time dedicated to explaining the characters and their world sometimes interrupts the flow of the story However this was a very entertaining read overall and I want to read of the series I picked up this book after skimming the back covermurder mystery AND chocolate sign me upLady Arianna Hadley s had a rough lifetraveling to the West Indies with her father after his banishment from England she grew up with little money and then lost her father when he was murdered She gets back to England with the determination to find the scoundrels behind her father s downfall and murder Posing as a French chef Arianna is staying under the radar until the Prince becomes ill while dining with his paramour Lady Spencer interesting touch and the chocolate dessert is the suspected culpritEnter Alessandro De uincy the Earl of Saybrook chosen to investigate because of his knowledge of chocolate It takes Saybrook little time to discover Arianna s subterfuge and soon approaching danger spurs him to get Arianna away from Lady Spencer s The Earl devises a plan giving Arianna a new identity designed to get her into the inner circle of the Ton where she encounters some of the men she holds responsible for her father s deathThere are many twists and turns in this story and while Arianna and Alessandro are attracted to each other the romance takes a back seat the the mystery The final encounter will have ou unable to stop reading until the final page The characters are well written and Falling Through Clouds you can easily see the scenes inour mind s eye A very well done first installmentthe teaser of book two promises another great story I was happily surprised how much I adore Lady Arianna s mystery Sweet Revenge With a mix of cozy and hard political mystery and a dash of romance the book was a great mix that was hard to put down Unlike other cozies and mysteries it s told in third person then the popular first person This gives ou a better understanding of all the players in the game From the main characters Arianna and Saybrook to the villains I found the characters to very appealing almost at times putting the mystery to shame Arianna is out to get revenge for the death of her father by the hands of his so called friends Hard shelled and at times hard headed Arianna at times is a hard character to truly like due to her actions and keeping clues back from the case Arianna grew up knowing and seeing others make pawns of people playing with their lives and trust very hard to her but Arianna has the grace to know when she s been acting dumb and childish and when to finally let the barriers down I loved Saybrook a mix of gentleman and crafty fox He holds to his own morals that are true and knows how to play the game without being an asshat but willing to get his hands dirty if need be He tries to help Arianna out and at times wants to lock her up and throw away the key just to keep her safe he understands her way of thinking better then she does He goes out to prove there are good people out to Arianna and slowly breaks down the barriers that Arianna has around her while having her drag him out of his own personal hell he put himself in Everything between them is a believable with a slow build in their relationship While the crime and mystery bring these two together it s their love of cooking and chocolate that bind them even closer Penrose added the cozy element at the beginning of each chapter with a delicious chocolate recipe and a little snippet from Saybrook s grandmother s diary These sometimes have a small clue or a foreshadowing The rich history had me reading of the financial swindle that played a big part of the story the author did an amazing job of interweaving everything so nicely that the book was a perfect balance Plus had my sweet tooth crying to try one or two of the recipes History Mystery Chocolate and Romance Sweet Revenge had everything that made this a very sweet keeper Clever mystery featuring an unconventional heroine as well as lots of chocolate lore and recipesI li. Ds herself at the center of a dangerous scandal Because of his expertise in chocolate the Earl of Saybrook Alessandro De uincy is the ideal candidate to investigate this crime When the Earl’s intuition leads to Arianna’s exposure she convinces Saybrook to keep her secr.

This was a fun Regency historical mystery Fairly predictable I still really enjoyed it and it was a uick read This is one that I think Regency fans would enjoy and it s a shame of them don t know about it There s not much romance so far but it looks like that might change in the next book The Regency flavor is there thoughI have to say all of the chocolate descriptions and recipes made my mouth water and may have influenced my rating Yum I m off to eat some truffles Maybe I m not enough of a chocolate fan In fact I m not much of a sweets person I had a friend back in school though who confessed that she buys pounds of chocolates every week and inhales them So there are apparently people who are addicted to chocolate If these people are looking for a chocolate cookbook that happens to also have a historical whodunit in it they might enjoy this bookThe chocolate recipes and historical tidbits would perhaps have worked better if they were shorter and placed at the end of the chapter in ebook form In paper form the recipes would be great at the beginning and easy to find In ebook format it s tedious But that s not the author s faultMaybe it was because all the characters seemed like caricatures The book opens up with Ariana posing as Alphonse but right from the beginning her flashbacks in italics are incredibly frustrating and jarring There are flashbacks regarding all sorts of people from her past and something about the wording just made it terrible to pick out what was going on Or it may have been the excessive historical prelude to every chapter seeming to derive from someone s diary that had me skimming Then there is the introduction of Grentham the person in the government who s supposed to guard the Prince Regent described as ruthless but coming off as a malicious head honcho who s constantly buffing his nails He calls in Lord Saybrook who s an Earl in his own right but is so rude to him that I found it untenable They banter maliciously about cooking with Grentham finding it effeminate but are not all great chefs at the time male and Saybrook stating that highborns on the Continent are well versed in household affairs This conversation also has Grentham essentially asking Saybrook if he s gay by asking if he likes boys or knitting because that s also womanly This conversation is RIDICULOUS to me Homosexuality was at the time punishable by hanging so for Grentham to accuse a Peer of this is simply incredible And comparing cooking to knitting What century are we in nowAll the government officials are terrifically rude to Saybrook who looks like a cadaver and is limping due to soldiering with veiled hints that a saber cut might have cut off his unmentionable Again also incredible because the man is an Earl He goes over to Lady Spencer Prince Regent s current mistress and lo and behold the butler is also rude to him and doesn t recognize him How is this possible in all dictates of the Regency world as established by publishers and writers alike They should have known he was uality from the cut of his coat etc etc Not to mention a newly ascended Earl who was limping there really wouldn t be that many in the top 1% of England who happened to also be in LondonThen there s a confrontation between Saybrook and Ariana in her disguise as Alphonse who s outed in a matter of minutes and the only clue the reader has is that Saybrook has been staring at her fingers for a long time The way he chooses to out her is he stabs her in the down filled chest and then they engage in aknife fight The action isn t very clearly written Then there s an explosion of some kind or a pistol shot and people are in the small kitchen and they re fending off two assailants in masksYes a cook is going to pad herself with down feathers and cook in a poorly lit badly ventilated kitchen Oh not to mention with a false moustache and a cotton roll down her pants as well How is she not to overheat and die while cooking There were just too many unbelievable elements and the characters and the writing both were turnoffs Pros Arianna had a strong personality I find that readers are often told that a historical fiction heroine is strong when they don t act that way uite a few of the standard regency novel tropes are avoided or subverted Chocolate appreciation The mystery had intriguing elements which I didn t guessCons Purple prose Every dialogue was a witty repartee and after awhile it became exhausting to read You can have too much of a good thing Real people don t always have time to come up with a clever answer especially in the heat of an argument Too much chocolate appreciation I love chocolate but once again ou can have too much of a good thing Although I like cooking I found the recipes boring not to my taste Romance for the sake of romance without much chemistryI recommend Sorcery Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot Cecelia and Kate 1 by Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer While I have enjoyed her romances written as Cara Elliott this was my first time reading one of her mysteries It was a delight and I will definitely be back for And as an added bonus not only is there a good story but each chapter England 1813 Lady Arianna Hadley’s desire to discover her father’s murderer has found her acting the part of a French chef in one of London’s aristocratic households But when the Prince Regent is taken ill after consuming Arianna’s special chocolate dessert she fin.

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Andrea Penrose is the bestselling author of Regency era historical fiction including the acclaimed Wrexford & Sloane mystery series as well as Regency romances written under the names Cara Elliott and Andrea Pickens Published internationally in ten languages she is a three time RITA Award finalist and the recipient of numerous writing awards including two Daphne Du Maurier Awards for Historic