It was another Cannonball review that had me putting Mr. Impossible (2005) by Loretta Chase on hold at the library. I was sold at the description of the hero as a brunette Chris Hemsworth, and I love adventurous romances, so I figured it was right up my alley. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it quite as much as I was hoping. There were definitely good parts, but I never really got into it.
Daphne Pembroke and her brother Miles are researching the ancient tombs and languages in 1821 in Egypt. Daphne is the genius brains of the family. She uses her brother to publish her findings because it would be inappropriate for a woman to show so much intelligence and interest in learning. Daphne was recently widowed when her much older husband finally died, leaving her plenty of money for comfort and luxury. One day, Miles does not return from a short trip. A badly beaten servant makes it to Daphne’s house to say that he saw her brother kidnapped. Daphne is desperate to find her brother and goes to English authorities for help. The English assume that Miles is having some fun in a brothel, but in order to assuage her concern, they offer up Rupert Carsington.
Before Rupert Carsington can help Daphne, she has to bail him out of jail. Carsington got into some trouble with the local authorities, but he’s thrilled to go on an adventure with the mysterious, beautiful woman who showed up outside his cell. He plays the dumb brute and is more than happy to provide the muscle in order to help find Daphne’s brother.
Daphne and Rupert set off on a ship with a number of servants as they begin their search for her brother. There is a rather complicated and deadly rivalry with the English Lord Noxley and a brutal Frenchman–both of whom want the power, discoveries, and control of antiquities that are available in Egypt.
Daphne and Rupert are immediately attracted to each other. The major hangup in their relationship is that Daphne was taught by her ex-husband to be ashamed of her intelligence and passion, so she is unwilling to give in to her desires. Rupert is a very good influence on her in this respect, and they eventually fall in love.
The book has a lot of adventure and excitement with thieves, murderers, and sandstorms. The two main characters are also very likable, and I was glad that they got together. There was a lot of good stuff in this book, but I kept getting pulled out of the action. Rupert had strength, confidence, and agility that was so overpowering, he was almost cartoonish. I never had to worry about any kind of jam they ran into because I knew he could superhero his way out of it. In addition, there was a lot of cruelty and violence, most of it directed towards the Egyptian servants who worked for the rich Englishman and Frenchman. The extreme violence took me out of the romance and lessened my enjoyment. Finally, I did not like that Rupert kept accidentally/on purpose grabbing Daphne’s breasts. It was not romantic at all, especially in life and death situations. I would have forgiven it once, but he did it at least three times. I like more consensual beginnings.
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