After reading something full of despicable people, I wanted to read something fun and light. Next up – Lisa Kleypas’ Someone to Watch Over Me. Apparently this is the first in a Bow Street Runners series she did in the late 90s/early 00s. Someone centers on Grant Morgan, a Bow Street Runner (i.e., private detective kind of?) with renowned success, remarkable height, and distinctive green eyes. He gets a ‘call’ about a body floating in the Thames. He is surprised to find when he rolls the body over for identification that the woman is still alive. And is none other than Vivien Duvall, famous courtesan and something of an arch nemesis for Morgan. Beautiful Vivien, however, has no memory of her life before waking up on the shore, or of the person who knocked her out, choked her and threw her in the river. Morgan takes Vivien under his protection and is on the case. As I so often say with these romance summaries – naturally, chemistry and romance ensue.
Kleypas has yet to really disappoint me (though I think I have been rather ‘meh’ on her Ravenels series), and Someone to Watch Over Me was enjoyable as I expected. What I really enjoyed about this book in particular is that neither of the characters is from the aristocracy. Not that I mind the romances I’ve read in the past where a Duke or Duchess has to marry or whatever, I just like that BOTH of these characters were ‘regular’ people. Grant is extremely wealthy and Vivien is a famous prostitute, but still. Regular. Neither of them is in any kind of line for any kind of fancy chair. Side note – I would be interested to know if there are any historical romances out there about seriously normal people (farmers, curates, lawyers, blacksmiths, etc). I’d probably read that. Anyway. Grant is a wonderful hero – he is flawed, for sure, but generally honorable, honest (for the most part), strong, respectful, and sort of handsome but more striking than anything. Vivien is complex to describe without spoiling the story, but then again this book came out nearly 20 years ago, so I guess I can spoil a smidge. All I will say is that Vivien’s personality perplexes Grant and is not at all what he remembers from his brief acquaintance with her before her accident. She is sweet and shy, but brave and stands up for herself in a lot of ways.
The only failure I think in this book is the way the mystery is suddenly resolved. I forgot to mention that another thing I particularly liked about this book is that it had the feel of a real mystery as well as a romance. Kleypas of course includes mysteries in many of her books but this could honestly have been an entry in the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries or the like and not a romance. So for the culprits to be revealed in the slapdash way they were, I feel a little like it was an afterthought. And maybe it was – the romance is the main focus here. Give this one a try if you’re a Kleypas fan and you haven’t gotten to it already. It won’t disappoint.