I was in the mood for a light read and while I was perusing my TBR piles, boxes, and shelves, I came across this and remembered that Lillelara had recently read it and enjoyed it.
I definitely enjoyed The Grand Sophy better, but this one got me through without complaint. I struggled to really feel invested in the story or any of the characters though; it seemed to missing just that little bit of depth – or else my reading slump had dulled my reading sense, rendering everything a bit duller. Given Heyer’s hit and miss record, either is possible. Or perhaps a bit of both: the final scene at Rattray’s rectory perked me right up; in that moment, the characters popped to life for me and I cared about what happened next.
I haven’t read even close to Heyer’s entire backlist, but I’d firmly place this midway on a scale of those I’ve read so far.
This one was an average chick-lit/romance that was only marginally about books, though they sounded like heavenly books in a library out of my dreams. The setting was the same as The Bookshop on the Corner, and a couple of characters from the first book play minor roles in this one, but otherwise the story is completely stand alone.
And it’s ok. It’s saved from complete mediocrity by a plot twist that was unexpected – at least by me; with my limited backlist of books in this genre, it’s probably not hard to surprise me.
It was a diverting read, though not as good as The Book Charmer, whose strong sense of place kept interfering in my mind with the weaker one here; Perhaps I might have enjoyed this one more if it hadn’t come on the tails of that more vividly written and charming book.
I used this yesterday as my ‘guilty pleasure’ read for the ukbookaday event and since I had finished and reviewed all my currently reading books yesterday as well, it felt like I had earned a guilty pleasure re-read. Plus, I figured this would be a great book to christen BL’s new re-read feature with, but it turns out I never recorded any read dates for this before, so that was a bust.
Remember those old-ish Goldie Hawn movies, like Bird on a Wire? If you’ve seen those movies, you’ll have some idea of what Agnes and the HItman is like. (Maybe a bit of Analyze This mixed in.) I think this book is MUCH better than Bird on a Wire was, but it’s as close as I can come to describing the tone.
Agnes is having a very bad week. She’s bought the house of her dreams from her best friends mother, Brenda, with the stipulation that Brenda’s granddaughter (and Agnes’ goddaughter) be married on the grounds with Agnes planning and hosting the whole thing. Easy!
Except suddenly someone is trying to dognap her dog, at gunpoint. Seems a bit excessive for an ugly old hound. Agnes defends herself with her frying pan and in the course of self-defence, the would be dognapper falls through a wall into an unknown basement and dies, letting loose all sorts of family secrets Brenda would have preferred stayed buried. Agnes’ old friend Joey, a retired and reformed mobster, thinks there’s something up with a dognapping at gunpoint and sends his nephew, Shane, to protect Agnes. Shane’s in the middle of a job, trying to take out an assassin, but Joey is the man who raised him – sort of – and he’s never asked for anything from Shane in 25 years.
What follows from here is just pure hilarity. This is not a deep story; don’t look for the characters to be meaningful or even realistic. There is zero navel-gazing and it’s pretty much non-stop action from first to last. If liberal use of course language is going to bother you – avoid this book. If talk about sex bothers you – avoid this book. The sex isn’t graphic, but discussion about it abounds.
If you’re looking for a light, funny, comedic romp – find this book! I upgraded mine to hardcover several years ago because I was wearing out my paperback.