A Notorious Proposition
Adele Ashworth
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Buy *A Notorious Proposition* by Adele Ashworth online

A Notorious Proposition
Adele Ashworth
384 pages
April 2008
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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A Notorious Proposition is somewhat misleadingly titled - there is no notorious proposition in the book, at least not that I noticed. Instead, set in 1850, it features Lady Ivy Wentworth, a seer whose brother is missing and who has been tasked by the mysterious Marquess of Rye to investigate ghosts in his new property.

Two years before, Lady Ivy loved and lost Garrett Burke, a man who was looking for the missing Martello Diamonds. When Lady Ivy meets Garrett in the village of Winter Gardens, she feels real animosity toward him because of the way in which he discarded her after seducing him. They soon find themselves having to work together to explore mystery tunnels in the Marquess of Rye's house in their search for the diamonds. Do the tunnels hold more than just cobwebs and dead cats? Is there more to the history of Garrett and Ivy than they both realize? Is there more to Garrett than Ivy realizes?

This is a reasonable read with characters exploring dusty tunnels, trying to find diamonds, attending a ball, that sort of thing. However, it's also too loosely plotted, without a strong thread of characterization to stitch it together. The names of the characters feel unconvincing for the time - Ivy and Garrett - and the author's dialogue is peppered with modern-day Americanisms inappropriate for the time and location in which the book is set. The pace of the story ramps up a little at the end as the various threads all join together and the villain or villains are identified, but the suspense is never that great; having finished the book, I doubt I shall remember much about it within a week.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Helen Hancox, 2008

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