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REVIEW: King of Threadneedle Street by Moriah Densley

Dear Ms. Densley:

Historical romance reviews are hard to come by not just at Dear Author but around the internet. In an email exchange with Jayne, we joked about putting a bounty on historical reviews meaning we’d pay extra for every historical review that appeared in our inbox. But change starts at home so I pledged I would read and review one new historical every month in 2014.

The King Of Threadneedle Street (Rougemont #2) by Moriah DensleyI started early with The King of Threadneedle Street. It was the number one Victorian romance over at Amazon and it was a bargain price at 99c. The concept is tantalizing but the execution left a lot to be desired.

Alysia Villier is the daughter of a famous courtesan who married well enough to die a Countess but because of Alysia’s notorious parentage, the likelihood of her marrying well is low. Or so we are told. Alysia’s position in the Courtenay household is bizarre. She serves as almost Lord Courtenay’s secretary cum steward, sorting correspondence, sending out replies, handling tenant complaints. She also plans the wedding of Lord Courtenay’s daughter to Duke of Belmont.

Andrew asks his father “Where is the steward? Who is the mistress of the house? Is my mother so addle-brained that Alysia must manage your estate?”

Unfortunately for Andrew, Alysia and the reader, there is no response.

In a convoluted set up, Alysia grows up in the home of Marquees of Courtenay where she and the heir, Andrew Tilmore, Lord Preston, share a childhood romance. Lord Courtenay does not want his bloodlines tainted with the likes of Alysia and he warns her off constantly. Initially a bargain is struck to send Alysia to another home to ostensibly be a companion to Viscountess Harringer but really she’ll be the son’s mistress.

When Andrew suggests a different position for her – any position she desires whether it be lover, mistress, or wife – Alysia refuses. She’d rather, I guess, be the mistress to some stranger than be with her childhood beloved because she fears his social ostracization. Andrew continues to pursue Alysia throughout the story as she runs from him and his desire to give her a legitimate place in society, one beside the man she purports to love.

To tarnish her even more, Alysia goes to Paris where she becomes an actress and–unbeknowst to her–a demimonde in training. Fortunately Andrew has been searching for her and finds her before she can be sold to someone else. All this happens and Alysia remains untouched.

Alysia’s continued rejection of Andrew makes very little sense to me. He’s a man of great fortune. He’s brilliant. He’s the son of a Marquess. The idea that in the late 1800s him marrying a Countess’s daughter even if the Countess had a poor reputation would somehow ruin his ability to make money trading stocks wasn’t well conveyed in the book.

None of the surrounding characters made much sense either. Andrew doesn’t squawk when his sister’s new husband wants to invite Alysia on the honeymoon. While he might warn Alysia away from the Duke of Belmont, he makes no moves to warn his sister. His mother continually pushes awful women at Andrew including ones that have about as poor of a reputation as Alysia, yet shuns Alysia.  His father raises his mistress’s daughter in his household but won’t countenance a relationship between her and his son. Instead, he does everything he can to push Alysia into high class prostitution.

And it’s not that Alysia will be poor either. Thanks to the management of her money by Andrew, Alysia will be very wealthy when she comes into her inheritance.  So none of the choices made by any major players in the book seemed authentic. The plot became even more convoluted as the story went on. The twists in the story seemed melodramatic rather than interesting as we discover Alysia’s parentage and Alysia and Andrew’s social standing almost flips. Perhaps with tighter editing or a more focused plot this could have been interesting.

Andrew was a sweet beta hero who was head over heels in love with Alysia. They were two nice characters who probably belonged together but the effort to keep them apart was too artificial.

It’s a fairly long book,  made longer by the unnecessary addition of nonsensical plot point after nonsensical plot point.  It took me six days to finish this book. It’s an inauspicious start to my renewed commitment to historicals. D

Best regards,

Jane

 

 

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

7 Comments

  1. Lady Wesley
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 17:53:41

    While I was disappointed with this book, Moriah Densley’s Song for Sophia is first rate. http://amzn.to/19TbhrW

    ReplyReply

  2. Sunita
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 18:00:33

    After you tweeted about reading this I downloaded the sample. I couldn’t get through the first few pages. There was something about the writing style that made it difficult for me to parse out the sentences. Maybe the overuse of adjectives, maybe the odd syntax combined with the two-dollar words? I’m not sure, but I gave up.

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  3. Lorenda
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 20:32:23

    I haven’t read this one yet, but I’ll second Lady Wesley’s recommendation of Song for Sophia. It reminded me a lot of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackensie by Jennifer Ashley. For the record, I know Moriah as she was a finalist for the Golden Heart the same year I was. So ignore at will. :)

    ReplyReply

  4. Holly Bush
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 07:28:30

    Don’t give up on the historicals!

    ReplyReply

  5. trixee
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 15:38:50

    I agree with all the prior posts in that Song for Sophia is a better book than TKoTS, that TKoTS suffered from some odd writing at times and from some strange/unlikely plotting and that I still think there is hope for historicals. Frankly, I still read more historicals than other genres and I’m wondering what readers think is better. Contemporaries? I’ve not had much success with them. Paranormals? I’m done with most of those except Nalini Singh. What are the “better” books that people are reading?

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  6. Jane
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 19:09:42

    You’ve all convinced me. I bought Song for Sophia!

    ReplyReply

  7. Nicole
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 21:48:50

    I found this book somewhat insane and unnecessarily convoluted, but enjoyed the author’s voice enough to get Song for Sophia. So. That book, while not as bizarre as this one, featured a number of brutal attacks that I personally could have done without. Still, at $.99, these books were a good deal. When done well, historicals are probably my favorite genre, although I’m not sure why, since they almost never depict MY history. Hmmm. And now I must go ponder.

    ReplyReply

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