Willow’s Review of An Affair with Mr. Kennedy by Jillian Stone
Publisher: Pocket Books
Date of Publication: January 31st 2012
Book Series: The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard
London, 1887. Part stoic gentleman, part fearless Scotland Yard man, Zeno “Zak” Kennedy is an enigma of the first order. For years, the memory of a deadly bombing at King’s Cross has haunted the brilliant Scotland Yard detective. His investigation has zeroed in on a ring of aristocratic rebels whose bloody campaign for Irish revolution is terrorizing the city. When he discovers one of the treacherous lords is acquainted with his free-spirited new tenant, Cassandra St. Cloud, his inquiry pulled him unexpectedly close to the hear of the conspiracy — and into the arms of a most intriguing lady.
Cassie is no Victorian prude. An impressionist painter with very modern ideas about life and love, she is eager for a romantic escapade that is daring and discreet. She sets her sights on her dour but handsome landlord, but after she learns their meeting was not purely accidental, she hardly has a chance to forgive her lover before their passionate affair catapults them both into a perilous adventure.
I loved this book! True I would have preferred it to have had more mystery in it, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. As many of you may or may not know, I’m a big fan of Scotland Yard novels, so it’s no surprise that I would gravitate towards this series. And given that I recently read and loved Stone’s other novel, The Seduction of Phaeton Black (SoPB), it’s no surprise that this was another winning novel for me. =^.^=
First off I wish to say that the romance in this book while being prevalent, is not nearly has hot as the one in SoPB. Actually this was rather tame in comparison. Though there is an instant connection between Cassie and Zeno, there’s a lot of courtship and flirtation that goes on between them, which makes their relationship more realistic for me. There’s also a lot of distrust at times. Now I’m all for reading some hot romance scenes every once in a while, but it’s also nice to have a slow build up to the inevitable romance, so the relationship between Cassie and Zeno as perfect.
I also greatly enjoyed the characters. Cassie was an instant favorite of mine. Not only because she is adamant in making a name for herself in the art world, but because she doesn’t conform to the typical Victorian widow persona. After dutifully going through the requisite period of mourning, Cassie sets out with the idea of having an affair. It’s simply too purrfect. And out of all the guys from the book she could hook up with, no one is better than Zeno. True, I found him to be rather infuriating at times, especially when he uses Cassie as a means to an end, but I also have to applaud him on his dedication towards work. I couldn’t fault him for not telling Cassie the truth about some of what was going on in his job, even if I did think there were some things he should have been up front about. These two characters combined make a fantastic team and it was fun to watch them dance relationship wise.
And before I move on to other things, can I just say that I’ve never met a more wonderful set of parents than Cassie’s! The dinner scene had me in stitches. They are the perfect comedic relief. Plus Cassie’s brother is a joy all on his own as well. His fascination with rockets and cars made for some very memorable scenes towards the end of the book. I truly hope that at some point Stone brings everyone back for another novel. At the very least I feel that Cassie’s brother deserves his own story.
Plot wise, this book has it all. Suspense, romance, mystery, humor, you name it. Though Stone tells us up front who the suspects are, the chase to track down the “Bloody Four” had me hooked straight through to the end of the book. And there are even some surprises in the story. I won’t go into any detail about these, but I will tell you that one of them left me feeling rather sorry for Zeno because he really got screwed over at one point.
The only part of the story that I had trouble with was towards the end where the book has what feels to be two different ending points. The first is when Zeno and Cassie have the final confrontation with the ring leader of the “Bloody Four”, whose name I am sad to say escapes me right now. This felt like a natural end all on its own and could have been left there with only an additional scene between Cassie and Zeno to wrap things up. Instead Stone ends the book with a rather humorous, yet harrowing scene where Zeno must protect Queen Victoria from an assassination attempt. I’ll be honest and say that my mind went to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 because Stone has the bad guys set up a series of powder kegs in the rafters of the House of Parliament. Any ways, while the additional events after the capture of the main antagonists didn’t stop my enjoyment of the novel, I was a bit surprised that Stone chose to continue the story beyond what felt like a natural stopping point for me. And before anyone questions why I found the ending scene to be rather humorous I will simply say this, rocket + villain = surprise humor.
So yes, there’s no question that this novel has definitely made me want to explore the rest of the books in this series. Be sure to check back later for my review of the second book in the series, A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis, which is set to hit store shelves August 28, 2012. There’s no way I’m going to miss this one!