Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Review: Meredith Duran’s BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH – Fabulous Victorian Romance with Egyptian Antiquities
Since this month starts a new “best list” for me featuring Victorian romances, I thought to begin with one I have enjoyed. Set entirely in London (though it involves the sale of antiquities from Egypt and other places) and likely set the late 1800s (there are new "electric lights"), it begins as Lydia Boyce is told by the man she expects to marry that he's marrying one of her younger sisters. Brokenhearted, Lydia is gracious, reconciling herself to the fate of a bluestocking spinster. She's intelligent, witty and able to carry her own in any debate. (She lectures at the museum and handles her father's antiquities business in London while he is in Egypt.)
Enter silver-tongued James, Viscount Sanburne. In an attempt to upstage his father, he interrupts Lydia's lecture to present his father with an Egyptian funerary stela (stone slab). Lydia is miffed and takes the opportunity to declare the stela a fake. James and Lydia are thereafter joined in what seems a dance of dislike and distrust, even as they work together to solve the mystery of the fake antiquities that seem to be a part of her father's business. All the while, people are trying to kill James for some jewels stolen from Egypt he knows nothing about.
James is also waging a battle against his father who he blames for his sister's confinement in an asylum after she killed her abusive husband. He also blames himself for not saving her. Hence, his excuse for a life of debauchery.
It's a good story and will keep you turning pages. She writes well, and her stories are filled with convincing emotions and predicaments. No contrivance. And, something else that is different: Once they give their hearts, her heroes consistently love the heroines. I like that—a lot.
The only thing that I will note is that you really need a dictionary to understand some of the sophisticated and unusual terms she employs. Mind you, I'm not complaining. I learn something with each of her books. Here are some examples of the words I stumbled over in this one: stentorian, escritoire, tollick, instantiations, clarence, whilks, jeremiad and volte-face.
What Duran does best is capture emotion and tension between two people falling in love in difficult circumstances. She also writes splendid love scenes... totally appropriate for the people and circumstances. I think this one is a keeper, and like her others, I highly recommend it.
NOTE: Bound By Your Touch is related to the next one that follows, Written On Your Skin. Sanburne is a character in the latter book, and his friend, Phin, the cartographer and mysterious government agent in Bound By Your Touch, is the hero in Written On Your Skin. I recommend reading them in order.