Review of “The Perils of Pleasure” (Pennyroyal Green #1) by Julie Anne Long

Long, Julie Anne. The Perils of Pleasure. New York: Avon Books, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0-06-134158-8. $6.99 USD. 

3 stars

Despite having read a lot of historical romance, I have been lax in reading the much-raved-about Pennyroyal Green series, and recently decided to change that. And while this first installment is not the best book on its own, I feel like it does a good job providing a  foundation for what’s to come, setting up the series lore between the Everseas and the Redmonds, which I feel I will benefit from going forward.

The romance between Colin and Madeleine is the weak spot of this book. While on his own, Colin is an great character, being an irresistible, charming rogue, and I did feel some sparks between him and Madeleine, for most of the book, it does feel more like an affair, or an “interlude,” as it is referred to at one point, especially as he spends most of the book mooning over another woman who’s marrying his brother, only to have it speedily clarified at the end that “it wouldn’t work” between them. Not to mention that I didn’t feel any connection to Madeleine as a character, as she didn’t really have anything that made her feel “real” to me.

The mystery plot, which ended up relating to the family dynamics, worked very well, and the pacing of that aspect had me turning pages despite the lackluster romance. There were some odd moments, but I found it rather charming in its way. While I did not enjoy this one as much as I had hoped I would, I do look forward to reading the rest of the series.

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