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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Night Lamp **Carol A. Spradling**

Publication Date: ??
Genre: Historical/Mystery
Series: N/A
List Price: $1.49
Sensuality Rating: PG
Stars: 2.5


Military confidant Cole McKnight will do anything to reclaim his home, even run bounties for an unprincipled bondsman. When Isa Foster becomes his latest assignment, Cole jeopardizes more than his property to bring her in.

Isa Foster has a bounty on her head and a dead friend at her feet. Accused of the murder, she must rely on her espionage training and wits to clear her name. Cole McKnight is one distraction she can’t afford.

With George Washington's impending inauguration and the birth of a nation hanging in the balance, Isa and Cole must work together to uncover the truth behind the murder. While Cole fights for his family home, and Isa for her very survival, their biggest battle may be fighting their attraction for each other.

My Opinion:
I’m a fan of historical romance and enjoy being able to immerse myself in times gone by, even when I know very little about them. The Night Lamp is set in the US Civil War – a period of history I know Nothing about – and I hoped for good things. Alas, I was disappointed and Did Not Finish. It had a slow start, but I persevered. Cole, the male lead / hero, seemed attractive enough, and I felt I might grow to like Isa, his female counterpart, but they just didn’t gel with me. I tried, I really tried, but by the time I reached 60% I was over it.

So what was wrong?

There were a multitude of typos and grammar glitches. One or two I can overlook, but this turned into an exercise of how quickly I found the next one. And the next…

Over the headboard, a heavy canvass draped a delicately laced curtain.
…his bony ribs had chaffed her legs.

At the last booth, a familiar whiny encouraged her to the back of the passageway.

She licked her lips, followed where his hands, and led then raised her gaze.

Isa hefted a good-sized hatchet and weighted it in her hand.

A giggle erupted from a second story window.

These could all have been fixed with a dose of sharp editing, but it wasn’t just that. I found the plot confusing. Isa seemed to be some kind of spy, delivering a highly important message to someone, something to do with the war. Cole was both a bounty hunter tasked with catching her, and a fellow spy – but of course, neither suspected the other. The main Bad Guy (Banks) was blackmailing Cole, yet when he had a chance to apprehend Isa (at a dinner party), he didn’t bother.

I couldn’t fathom Cole’s motives – or Isa’s. They quickly became fond of each other, and in an attempt to hide the truth from her beloved aunts, Isa agreed to a fake marriage (to Cole), and this provided some light amusement.

It was a shame. The author had a nice way with words, and some sections of The Night Lamp were beautifully written.

Isa watched Cole throughout the meal, knowing manners and etiquette were served up as a side course.

A snail burrowed its head and disappeared into the dirt. Small and  vulnerable, it would seek protection inside its fragile world. The steel blade strapped to Isa’s calf comforted her more than any shell.

The corner of her lips lifted and then softened in a phantom smile.


Historical lovers should give this book a try; don't just take my word for it, you might like it.


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