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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Review: Traitor in Her Arms by Shana Galen

It’s been awhile since I read this one and forgot to write the review *grumbles* so I re-read it again to make sure my opinion still held.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: August 22, 2017

After her late husband leaves her in debt to some dangerous people, Lady Gabrielle McCullough is forced to become a thief. In the intervening years, her skills have not gone unnoticed. After being recruited by the Scarlet Pimpernel, the mysterious do-gooder spiriting aristocrats out of revolutionary France, Gabrielle crosses the Channel for the most daring mission of her life. Accompanying her is the Earl of Sedgwick, a thief in his own right and an enticingly masculine presence. The man is not to be trusted—nor is Gabrielle’s body when he’s near.

Ramsey Barnes would not say he is an honorable man. His whole life has been based on a lie; why change now? Although it pains him to deceive the tantalizing Gabrielle, he’s working toward an altogether different objective: unmasking the Scarlet Pimpernel. If Ramsey fails, his blackmailer will ruin him. But when Ramsey’s confronted with the carnage of the Reign of Terror, he seeks refuge in Gabrielle’s heated embrace. Now he faces a terrible choice: betray the woman who’s stolen his heart—or risk losing everything.

What’s it About? Gabrielle's late husband left her with a mountain of debt and some dangerous people who want to collect. Her only choice was to become a thief in order to pay it off. Meanwhile Ramsey Barnes, is being blackmailed into thievery and into finding out the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel who coincidentally has recruited Gabrielle for a dangerous mission. Stuck together on a voyage into revolutionary France, Ramsey and Gabrielle's antagonistic relationship turns into a romantic one but with so many secrets between them, their budding romance might not survive, and if it does they may not come out of France alive.

Overall reaction to the story? I had high hopes for Traitor in Her Arms, the synopsis sounded so good and I was excited to read about a titled lady forced to become a thief. The reality of the story however was less than appealing. I found said lady only one step above a TSTL heroine who had ZERO useful skills which had me questioning the mental capability of anyone who “hired” her to do anything other than stand there and look pretty. The hero was a little better but he was constantly saving the heroine or taking over her part in the mission which got annoying and a tad predictable after awhile. The one thing I did enjoy was how well Shana Galen painted the picture of absolute chaos and terror during the French Revolution. It was as vivid as it was horrifying which added an element of desperation and extreme danger as the characters moved further into France.

Describe the hero in five words: Secretive. Charming. Stubborn. Skilled. Intelligent.
Did you like him? Yes. Well, sort of.
Why? Ramsey is in a the position of being blackmailed into a life of thievery but he’s gotten pretty good at it. He isn’t a bad guy but if his secrets come out they could make him look very bad, as in execution bad. I liked that whole internal conflict he had from the very beginning between saving his own butt and doing what was right. I got the impression that before all the blackmail business, Ramsey was pretty self serving but he learns and grows from his ordeal and while he isn’t perfect at the end, he has changed quite a bit.

Describe the heroine in five words: Determined. Vulnerable. Incompetent. Distressing. Bland.
Did you like her? For the first chapter, but later absolutely not.
Why? Gabrielle started off as a rather unique woman. Because of her late husband’s stupidity, she has had to pay the debts he owed to some dangerous people, as a result she had to become a thief. Interesting right? Especially when she is described as a darn good thief. She’d have to be good in order to be recruited for a dangerous mission by the Scarlet Pimpernel right? Well either the Scarlet Pimpernel didn’t have much to choose from or their standards were really low because Gabrielle was most definitely NOT a good thief. She is in a word, a mess. There is never any proof that the rumors of her thievery skills are anything more than just rumors, she bumbles several tasks that could have gotten her killed, she can’t lie to save her butt (Which needed a lot of saving), and she sometimes had me wanting her to fall into a conveniently placed river, or ocean so that a new, better heroine could take the lead and actually do something useful. Instead it seemed like Gabrielle was only there to provide situations to make Ramsey seem like a total stud muffin/hero of the decade. Not cool at all, I can’t stand useless damsels in distress that are only meant to feed the guys’ ego or to make them look like the ultimate hero.

Let’s talk about the romance: Well, Ramsey and Gabrielle have actually known each other for a while. She was married to Ramsey’s best friend but there was always a kind of physical awareness between them. That made their intense attraction believable but at some point, Traitor in Her Arms seems to forget that it’s a romance and instead feels more like Gabrielle and Ramsey are spectators in a well known historical event. Under other circumstances that would have been great but since this book IS called a romance, I was expecting romance.

How about that supporting cast? There aren’t many supporting characters in Traitor in Her Arms that weren’t either historical figures, or got killed off. I’m glad that the focus remained on Ramsey and Gabrielle for the most part because of the gravity of their situation. Galen treated it like the serious even that it was and that meant keeping a close eye on both characters’ movements.

Click It or Skip It? Well I would Skip It but if damsels in distress are your thing go for it.

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