Reviewed by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
I loved the first book in this series, Thief, Liar, Gentleman? Yes, the story stretches the limits of believability. An urchin with no education is readily accepted as a member of the upper classes in Victorian London. His transformation from callous thief to refined gentleman occurs overnight upon his attending his first opera. Yet, I decided to accept these improbable twists and go along with the story.
But the second book, Montmorency On The Rocks: Doctor, Aristocrat, Murderer?, took a turn for the worst. Instead of developing their personality, here the characters became even shallower. The plot is random, the reasons behind the characters’ actions non-existent or contradictory with their previous behaviors. The female characters even less developed that their male counterparts and that is to say something. There is no hint of any kind of sexuality on any of them, male or female, even though one of the females is a prostitute. And by the way, this is a YA novel, am I the only one to have a problem with that?
*** SPOILERS ALERT ***
Apparently so. For the protagonists, even the aristocratic lord, accept her easily enough. And then, there is the bomb, at the end of the second book, that the said prostitute is pregnant. As I said, there is no hint of any relationship before, so the reader is left wondering who is the father of the baby.
The reader is not the only one wondering, for during this, the third book, the three male protagonists wonder too whether they are the father of the now 13 year old boy. Which means the mother was the lover of the three men. At least once. Yet, they all get along swimmingly. Really?
Then there is Maggie, the doormat nurse, who does everything for her love interest, without asking anything in return. Her selfishness is irritating. Is this what we want our daughters to become?
*** END SPOILERS ***
Plus the story in this third installment makes even less sense. Aristocrats, anarchists, working classes and the new American industrialists are all clichés and poorly developed. And don’t get me started with the contrivances of the reappearance in America of a secondary character from the first book.
Overall terribly disappointing.