McAlistair's Fortune by Alissa Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Three books, three winners. It's official: Alissa Johnson has snatched a spot in my favorite authors list.
This story starts with a misunderstanding: 26-year-old spinster and women's rights advocate Evie Cole eavesdrops upon a scheme to find her a husband, but she doesn't overhear the whole conversation and therefore misses the fact that the "schemers" (her aunt, the dowager Lady Thurston, and two family friends, Mr. Fletcher and Mrs. Summers) give up on the plan in the end. So when she receives a letter threatening her life and some events unfold in an identical way to the husband-hunting plan she's overheard, she decides to play along just to see how far things would go. She's quite surprised to see how good actors her aunt and friends are, though. If she didn't know better, she'd believe they were actually concerned about her safety. But that would be absurd, since the whole charade was just a ruse... Or was it?
James McAlistair, a former soldier who's lived a solitary life in the past 10 years, gets involved in what Evie believes is a plan to get her married. Unfortunately (or fortunately), he believes the threat against her life is real and sticks to her like glue, vowing to protect her. McAlistair has been in love with Evie for 8 years, even though they've never really talked with each other. That was very far-fetched and I tried to accept it at face value, but I'm afraid I failed. Anyway, I decided to let it go as the story progressed, because I had no problem believing he fell in love with Evie - and vice versa - as they spent time together, and got to know and trust each other enough to share their most deep secrets.
McAlistair and Evie were great characters and I loved them. He was that kind of tortured hero I can't help loving, and it was a joy to see him opening up under Evie's not-so-gentle probing. He wasn't surly, just quiet. Knowing she wasn't meant for him, but unable to let her go once he realized he was meant for her. Perfect! *sighs*
Evie was the perfect match for McAlistair, of course. She was independent, strong and caring, without a TSTL bone in her body. She was stubborn, but she knew when to cave and obey - as long as she agreed with McAlistair's reasoning, LOL.
The plot in this book was stronger than the previous books' and the mystery surrounding the threat against Evie's life had a surprising resolution. I should've known better than to think that Ms. Johnson would follow the same template again. :) This book wasn't perfect, though. The pace was uneven and it dragged a bit around the middle of the story. I also missed the LOL funny banter between the H/h that was present in the previous books, even though I understand that tortured McAlistair would be the last person on earth to be caught bantering and joking with anyone.
All in all, I really enjoyed this read and can't wait to read the next (and final?) book in the series.
View all my reviews