Jo Goodman

Books: Romance | Historical

The Compass Club Series: Let Me Be The One (2002,2015), Everything I Ever Wanted (2003/2015)

The Compass Club Series

Let Me Be The One (2002, 2015)

Set in England in 1818.

Elizabeth Penrose is a spinster, and quite happy about it. She spends times with her friends, and helped prepare the rout at Battenburn castle. But those around her seem to want her wed–whether she wants or no.

"Louise is trying her hand at matchmaking," Elizabeth said, going straight to the heart of it.

"I know. Her remarks could not properly be called hints. She commented on your qualities with all the subtlety of a Greek chorus."

Brendan Hampton, Earl of Northam, (called North by his friends) has been sent to Battenburn to chase the Gentleman Thief, who has been stealing from members of the ton for several years now. But he's drawn not to the thievery, but to Elizabeth.

"May I assist you in some way?" she asked in polite but reserved accents.

Northam remained where he was. "I thought I might find something to read."

"How fortunate you have come upon the library, then."

"It is not by accident," he assured her, "but by design."

First, I really liked Elizabeth. She makes it clear to North that she is not interested in marriage, and when she ends up in a relationship with him, tells him that in no uncertain terms should he trust her.

Secondly, I quite like North and his friendships.

Southerton grinned good-naturedly. "You know, I am of the opinion it is not so terrible a thing to be treated like a horse when the Lady Elizabeth is in the saddle."

"The lady's horse," Northam said without inflection, "is a gelding."

There was an infinitesimal pause on Southerton's part. "I think I'll find East."

But what I particularly liked was that the impediments between Elizabeth and North held together and made sense. And that Elizabeth was as honest as she was able with North, even if that didn't help when the truth came out.

And the mystery–even if I guessed parts of it–was also interesting (and tied into the impediments between the two).

There was, of course, boinking. Which, well, whatever. But the characters and the mystery and the story itself made the book well-worth reading.

Publisher: ePublishing Works!

Rating: 7.5/10

Everything I Ever Wanted (2003/2015)

Set in England in 1818

Matthew Forrester, Viscount Southerton and his four friends created the Compass Club when they were in school together, based upon the titles it was possible they could (but were unlikely to) inherit.

India Parr is a stage actress of renown. As well as a great number of secrets she struggles to keep hidden.

"My value to the company has always been more than my onstage performance. A public liaison with any one man diminishes the hope that I will be another's."

"You have no say in the matter?"

"On the contrary, I have a great deal to say, and none of it that matters. Mr. Kent does as he will. You do as you will. As for me, my lord, I am no whore but merely play at one at the behest of those who would have it so."

This book overlaps the first book in the series, Let Me Be The One, and I presume as well with the next book in the series.

So, a LOT happens here. Let's get some content warnings out of the way: mention of marital rape, drugging of women to make them compliant or unable to fight back (but NOT for rape). Also, some jaw droppingly messed up family relationships.

It's extremely difficult to discuss what worked or what didn't for this book without massive spoilers for all the twists and turns of the story. And there are many. Perhaps too many. The plot holds together, but, well, holy shit there is a lot going on, and a lot of that is over-the-top.

However, it also kept me reading at a point when I was easily distractable.

Will I read the next book in the series? I probably will. But not immediately I think.

Publisher: ePublishing Works!

Rating: 7/10