This trilogy does not feature the usual fancy people of romance which is a pleasant change. The Bow Street Runners were a precursor to a metropolitan police force in London and all three heroes work for the team. It’s a profitable enterprise and, assuming they conduct themselves ethically, an honourable one. Just try not to think too much about the realities of conditions for working people, in the prisons, or for the poor in Victorian London.
Someone to Watch Over Me – Grant Morgan and Vivien Duvall – Weak
Boy meets girl. Boy knows Girl. Girl has amnesia. Girl lives with Boy for protection. Something about revenge. Some kind of mystery. Marriage.
Someone to Watch Over Me is not one of Kleypas’ better works. I read it over a year ago, I have not revisited it, and I remember it as having one charming moment.
Lady Sophia’s Lover – Ross Cannon and Sophia Sydney – Pretty good
Sir Ross Cannon is the chief of the Bow Street runners and a magistrate. Looking for a new secretary, he is stunned when a lovely woman, Sophia, appears saying she needs a job. He doesn’t want to hire a woman, what with it being Victorian England and his profession being somewhat sordid, but he agrees to give her a chance and she ends up supervising his household, doing some secretarial work, and, eventually, in his bed.
Sophia does not have a personality that leaps off the page. She is kind and hard-working, but her presence mostly consists of being attracted to Ross and showing otherwise poor judgement. Owing to an indiscretion and subsequent slut-shaming, Sophia is desperate for work, but her presence in Cannon’s office is not coincidental. Several years ago, Cannon convicted Sophia’s brother, John, of a petty crime and he died in prison. Sophia blames her brother’s death on Cannon’s cruelty and is out for revenge. Her plan involves a. collecting and making public evidence that proves he is a Bad Man and b. making Cannon fall in love with her and then breaking his heart to give an emotional dimension to her revenge. Sure.
Given the author, it’s no surprise that the romantic/intimate scenes in the book are steamy and plentiful; however, there are plot elements in Lady Sophia’s Lover that will send your eyes rolling heavenward. Things happen conveniently, illogically, and implausibly. Also, Ross puts his hands on Sophia more than once and though he never hurts her, it disrupts the reading experience and leaves you giving the book the side-eye. This is B-list Kleypas and one of those romances whose relative redemption is because of the hero. Ross Cannon is a widower, a workaholic, and a profoundly honourable man. Kleypas writes especially appealing men (I can’t be the only one who thinks that) and Ross is delish. He is smoking hot, even given the aforementioned element.
Worth Any Price – Nick Gentry and Charlotte Howard – Meh
Do you like lots of sex in a romance novel, but you don’t want it to cross into erotica? This is the book for you. Worth Any Price is long on physical intimacy and short on relationship development. Nick Gentry is a very successful Bow Street runner. He has taken a private contract to track down Charlotte Howard who fled her family when they attempted to marry her off to a controlling and lecherous old goat. Nick and Charlotte marry to shield her from the goat in that way that often happens in romance novels. It’s a marriage of convenience that turns into a love match, or, more accurately in this case, a marriage of lust that conveniently turns into love. There is a lot a good sex, it is Kleypas after all, but it is not long on romance, logic or character development, plus the ending has an egregious deus ex machina. Don’t bother. If you must bother, go with Lady Sophia’s Lover.
A complete summary of Lisa Kleypas’s catalogue, with recommendations, can be found here.