Impetuous is my first Candace Camp read. Indeed, one of the nice
things about reviewing is discovering new authors who really know how to
tell a story. Camp certainly fits that description. This book has
hidden treasure, a family feud, kidnapping, breaking and entering, and
attempted murder. It also has a steamy romance between an admirable hero
and heroine. Just about all the ingredients any reader could want.
Except one – historical verisimilitude. After reading this book, I have
no idea when the story takes place. The few fashion descriptions seem
to suggest a Regency setting. However, certain other factors (mention
of Florence Nightingale and of a revolver, for example) made me wonder
if the book was meant to be set later in the 19th century. Since I was
reading an uncorrected proof, it is possible that the anachronisms that
gave me pause will disappear in the final version.
But what I really want to call attention to (and I admit that it is one
of my particular pet peeves), is that the historical aspects of
this historical romance are so ephemeral that this reader could
remain in doubt as to the novel's temporal setting. This can be said
about an increasing number of historical romances and I find this trend
Yet, you will note that I am recommending Impetuous. It passed
my "put down/pick up" test. When forced by circumstances (like the need
to feed my family) to put the book down, I was a wee bit resentful and
was anxious to pick it up at the next possible moment. I even read on
through the soccer matches (although I did put it down to watch the
shoot out between France and Italy.)
What a prologue! (Camp certainly knows how to get the reader's
attention!) Sir Philip Neville has been invited for a midnight tryst
with Joanna Moulton. But he enters the wrong room. He doesn't realize
the mistake in the dark and is intrigued by the fact that the lady is
feigning sleep, In fact, Cassandra Verrere is asleep and is
having the most delightful dreams. When Philip realizes his mistake, he
also realizes that he had made a lucky escape. Joanna had meant to
entrap him into marriage. Cassandra is embarrassed by her cousin's
behavior but behaves herself with admirable restraint.
Cassandra is perturbed at meeting Sir Philip this way. She had hoped to
meet him less scandalously because she has a proposition for him. The
Verreres and the Nevilles have been feuding since the 17th century when
Margaret Verrere fled to America rather than marry a Neville. At issue
was Margaret's dowry, which both families claimed but which had gone
missing. Cassandra has discovered Margaret's diaries and believes that
the dowry is still at Neville's estate. Her family needs the dowry to
restore its sadly depleted fortunes. She needs Philip's help. But will
a Neville work with a Verrere, even for a promised fortune?
Philip is intrigued by the young lady who reacted with such aplomb
during their unusual first meeting. (He also is intrigued by what he
felt was the promise of Cassandra's passion.) And so, he pursues the
acquaintance. If that means involving himself in a search for treasure,
so be it.
The treasure hunt is the main plot device, but there is a lot more.
Cassandra has, at 27, given up thoughts of marriage and finds it hard to
believe that the eminently eligible Sir Philip can be attracted to her.
Philip has to sort out his own feelings about this unusual woman who is
so unlike the vacuous debutantes he is familiar with. I have to say
that the two seem well matched and while there are the inevitable
misunderstandings, Camp doesn't draw them out unreasonably.
Impetuous is not especially original, but it is well done. I
cared about the characters, remained in the dark about the mystery, and
appreciated the love scenes. I have enjoyed Camp in her other personae
because she tells a good story. Impetuous is a good story.