Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Review: Betina Krahn’s THE BOOK OF TRUE DESIRES – Treasure and Love in the Jungles of Mexico, a Great Romp!

This is the second in Krahn’s Library of Alexandria/High Victorian Romantic Adventures duology (THE BOOK OF THE SEVEN DELIGHTS was the first), and it won the RITA for the best historical romance in 2007. It’s a wonderful Indiana Jones type treasure hunt that begins in Cuba (at the outset of the Spanish-Cuban-American War) and continues through the jungles of Mexico.

Set in 1898, it tells the story of Cordelia O’Keefe, a beautiful American explorer and adventurer extraordinaire, who strikes a deal with her feisty old tycoon grandfather to fund an expedition to find King Solomon’s Mines if she will first go into Mexico and discover the secret, and perhaps the treasure, of the Mayan stone carving called the Gift of the Jaguar. She agrees before he tells her he must have as his representative on the expedition his butler, the Englishman Hartford Goodnight (love that name). Goodnight, who she continually calls Good___ (fill in the blank; it varies), is anything but your typical butler. He’s clever, impudent and smart—and very well educated and knowledgeable about plants. Cordelia and Goodnight find themselves neck deep in adventure, bandits, jungle animals and mysterious Mayan legends, all the while fighting their attraction for each other.

Krahn very cleverly injects humor though Goodnight’s curt, sarcastic remarks and his journal writings, which are priceless. I laughed out loud at some of them. So well done. There are wonderful secondary characters and a very mean villain. It’s a fun romp and a good love story and you Walter Mitty types will love it!

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