After loving Enoch's "Always a Scoundrel" I was disappointed I didn't like this book more. In an earlier review, Audball mentioned that she didn't like Enoch's anachronistic heroines (correct me if I'm mistaken please, Audball). This isn't a problem for me. I thought Phillipa was pretty much like all of Enoch's heroines and I tend to like most of them pretty well. I actually thought she was pretty amusing sometimes, and the times I didn't get her were the times when I thought the story wasn't following the plot as well as it could have.
My problem was with the execution of the premise. An adventurer comes home after being declared dead to find that his journals have been stolen and published as someone else's work. The moment he walks in his friend's door (not the thief), he meets Lady Phillipa aka "Flip" and becomes obsessed with her.
Bennett Wolfe is not a civilized man. From the age of eleven he was pretty much on his own in the world and raised in boarding schools. He joined the army and eventually got involved in exploration, ending up in the Congo with a scoundrel named David Somethingorother. David is the thief who left our hero to die in a mud hut, stealing his work and publishing it as his own.
Frankly, I don't think David would have gotten away with it, especially after Bennett returns. Bennett has all the specimens from the trip. He has the monkey as his constant companion that David supposedly loved. One only has to speak to him for five minutes to know he's the one who's smart enough to write the book in the first place. But it's not so easy. I just didn't buy how not so easy it was.
Bennett is also an irrational hot head. I don't care how he's been made to look foolish (in David's version of the text), the real problem with him is he tends to lash out when he gets peeved. I wouldn't be anxious for him to be courting my daughter, either. And I didn't like the monkey around so much either. It was annoying.
I guess the whole thing might have worked, but I just didn't see enough organic chemistry between Flip and Bennett. Their courtship felt jerky, if that makes sense. And some things were left hanging or completely dropped that I wanted to know more about. Such as, Bennett's cousin Geoffrey.
This seems to be the first book of a new series. We were introduced to a couple of characters, particularly the Duke of Somerset, in such a way that they seem like they're in line for books. The first book of The Notorious Gentlemen trilogy didn't thrill me either, and I ended up liking that series, so I'll be on board for the next book with hopes that it will be better.
This one was just kind of blah, sadly.