Happy Monday, y’all!
I’m taking today to recover from a fun, busy weekend. We’ve managed to have nothing scheduled today so we’re just staying home and relaxing which we haven’t been able to do in what seems like weeks.
Today I’m here with a review of The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen. This continues my catch up of reviews in September. I only have 3 books to review after this one so I’m pretty proud of all the catch up I’ve done this month! I borrowed this book from my sister in law several weeks ago with high hopes. I love historical romance novels and hoped this would be a great addition to one of my favorite genres. I wanted to love this book, but when I finished, I can only say I liked it.
- Overall, I’ve enjoyed all the books published by Shadow Mountain in their “proper Romance” genre. My absolute favorite is Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. If you’ve never read historical romance, start there. If you’re a historical romance fan and haven’t read it, read it now!
- This is the only book I’ve read by Nancy Campbell Allen and I’m not sure if I will read others. It wasn’t my favorite.
- The highlight of the book for me was the setting. I enjoyed the Indian setting and learning more about that culture.
According to Goodreads, “Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend’s sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy.
Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn’t as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.
She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won’t confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?”
The premise of this novel was intriguing, but I don’t think it was explained and flushed out as well it could be. The summary on the back of the book made me curious. I wanted to find out more and see if Anthony and Sophia could be together. But it just never really came together for me. The details and different plot lines felt like separate stories. Things felt a bit disjointed between the murder, the witness, and the document. I was disappointed that the connections weren’t more clever. The ending fell short for me as well which made the whole story lack the flair I usually enjoy with Regency romance.
The biggest disappointment of this book was the ending. I didn’t like how it all came together–it lacked creativity and explanation. I thought it was a very depressing how twisted the villain had become at the expense of all his relationships with his family and with God. The twist about the document was a bit obvious. But also lacked sufficient description of the motives of all the villains. The details about the ending were intriguing but they just weren’t flushed out completely. And I didn’t really understand how the Indian prince guy fit into everything going on. But perhaps I just wasn’t reading carefully enough. I was left feeling let down after all the action of the book.
Overall, I enjoyed the romance in this book although I didn’t love it. Anthony and Sophia are a lovely couple and I am glad they get their happily ever after. But this isn’t a carefully crafted love story akin to Jane Austen. It feels more like two teenagers arguing and then making up several times. For instance, it seemed to switch almost too easily from she’s angry and hurt to shes in love. And I was annoyed by him telling her about his spy work and her just not believing him. It all felt a bit juvenile. But again, I am glad they end up together.
Overall, a fluffy, light read. I enjoyed it. But it’s not my new favorite.
Have you read many books set in India? Which are your favorites?
What historical romance author is your favorite?