Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yachting Around With 'A Rather Curious Engagement'

In my quest to read C. A. Belmond's "Rather" series, I've now finished the second book, A Rather Curious Engagement. It was every bit as charming as Belmond's introduction to heroine and heiress Penny Nichols in A Rather Lovely Inheritance.

Penny and her cousin-but-not-really Jeremy are deeply in love after realizing their feelings for one another in the first book. With their shared inheritance gained in the first installment of this series, from great aunt Penelope, they make life decisions that will hopefully change their lives for the better. First on the list is obtaining an antique yacht Jeremy has lusted after for some time. After winning the boat at an auction, Penny and Jeremy run into more secrets and trouble. With a boat-jacking, long-lost antiques, and lots of history, Belmond sends her readers on an adventure around the Mediterranean.

Penny and Jeremy visit Lake Como, Italy; Antibes, France; and other exotic locale. Their thuggish cousin Rollo actually helps them in their first "case" to investigate as lovers and business partners -- that of a missing antique lion with ties to composer Beethoven. The elderly count and former owner of their yacht is a collector of aquamanilia (and yes, you should click on this link -- I had no idea what this was until it was explained in the book). The Count has been on a years-long search for one particular piece -- the so-called Beethoven Lion. Penny and Jeremy begin researching not only the link between this piece and the famed composer, but also the family ties that exist between the Count and the metalworker who created it.

While these aren't books that would win a National Book Award or a Pulitzer Prize, Belmond's series is consistently entertaining. She combines history lessons with romance and intrigue in her series that offers interesting characters and fun locations. Her latest was released in February, and is next on my list.

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