on April 5th 2016
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From acclaimed author Elizabeth Essex comes an irresistible prequel novella introducing the Highland Brides, a quartet of bold, brilliant lasses determined to make their own happily ever afters.
Set a thief… Rory Cathcart’s appreciation of the exquisite makes him the perfect man to expose forgeries and root out fraud in London’s tempestuous art world. But when his latest investigation into forged paintings puts him squarely in Mignon du Blois’ shaky sights, he finds himself deep in trouble, and captured by something more powerful than mere beauty.
To catch a thief… The moment Mignon stops a rakish thief from making off with one of her father’s brilliant forgeries, she knows she’s found the perfect man to help her steal back a priceless statue, and save her family from unspeakable scandal. She has no intention of falling for Rory’s Caledonian charms, nor his seductive Scottish persuasions. From the drawing rooms of the ton to the auction rooms of the art world, the pair embark on a madcap adventure to save them both from ruin. But will the love they uncover be most priceless treasure of all?
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Mad For Love is a prequel novella by Elizabeth Essex which introduces her upcoming new series, Highland Brides. This is the first book I have read by this author, but it definitely won’t be my last..starting with the Highland Brides series.
In this story, beautiful French woman Mignon du Blois and her father have fled France. They have set up home in England, and Mignon should be happy. Unfortunately her father, like his father before him are art forgers. Mignon’s father doesn’t do it for the money, he does it for the satisfaction of knowing his work is sublime and that nobody has ever been able to detect a forgery done by him. He is so proud of both his and his father’s forgeries that when he is asked to loan one of his father’s sculptures, his best forgery, The Diana, to an art gallery, he jumps at the chance. The thrill he gets from having the aristocracy admiring his work is too much to turn down. Unfortunately, after he gives the Diana to the gallery, he is told that they want to insure the item, but before the insurers agree to insure it, they will want a renown art forgery investigator to authenticate it. Mignon knows that if this investigator is as good as his reputation then the forgery will be discovered and questions will be asked about all the other works that her father has sold from his gallery, all of them forgeries.
Rory Cathcart is the expert, and he has already been investigating Mignon’s father. In fact Mignon caught him in the act of breaking into her home to examine a painting that he is sure is a forgery. She doesn’t turn him in, his charm saves him. He makes out he was just after the painting to sell because he is a gentleman thief. He introduces himself as Rory Andrews. When she realises that in order to save her father and the family’s reputation, she will need to steel the Diana, who else does she think of turning to than Rory Andrews. She can’t explain to him why she needs him to steal the statue, but of course Rory realises that if she can’t just ask for it back, it must be because she doesn’t want Rory Cathcart examining it. Suddenly asking for it back after being told it was to be examined would make too many questions be asked, meaning it’s a forgery as he suspects.
So Rory, being more than a little smitten with our Mignon agrees he will do the job for her, but insists she helps him. What follows is an exciting sequence of events involved in trying to get the statue away from a heavily fortified gallery. The couple have some scary, close calls, but they also have some intimate moments when they have to await the opportunity to make their move to gain the statue. Will they manage to get it, and what will they do with it afterwards? Will Rory come clean about who he is, will he turn her father in, he has to right? It’s his job! Can there be any future for the couple who have quickly formed a bond with each other, once Rory tells the truth.
I really enjoyed this story, it was light-hearted, yet also has you holding your breath at times. There sadly was an issue with some continuity in one scene in the story. It didn’t stop my enjoyment of the book, but I hope it’s picked up before the final version is put on sale.
I also think that the book ended far too quickly, it went from a nice length story, building up the characters and the storyline, only to end abruptly. Because of that and the continuity issue, I can’t give this a full 5 star rating, but I still fully recommend the book. An enjoyable book like this can afford a couple of negative points and still be a great read.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.