Let me preface this review by saying that any author who dedicates a book to Hugh Jackman is more than okay in my view, and that’s before I even turned to the first page of this book.
Captain Sir Bennett Wolfe returns from the Congo and a near-fatal injury unaware that his reputation has been ruined by the theft of his journals. His former expedition partner, David Langley, turns Wolfe’s writing into his own, and in the process, claims all the glory for himself. With his side-kick, the monkey Kero, perched on his shoulder, Sir Bennett sets out to right this wrong, and along the way, finds Lady Phillipa Eddison.
Lady Flip, as she’s known, has always been in the shadow of her older sister, Olivia. A “blue-stocking,” she’s read Sir Bennett’s previous books and believes him when he says he’s been plagiarized. The Captain is drawn to Phillipa, as much for her belief in him as her other attributes, which, unbelievably to Bennett, no other gentleman has seemed to notice. He begins to think that he has found the one person to marry. On the other hand, Phillipa’s lack of adventuresome spirit worries her. After all, her love is an adventurer, looking for his next expedition. Would she be drawn to that kind of life? Or will she have to ask Bennett to give up his career in order to be with her?
While Bennett very humorously blunders through a courtship based not on the rules of the jungle, which he understands completely, but that of society's which he does not, he realizes that he needs to toe the line in order to regain his reputation and protect Phillipa’s as well. Then, to Bennett’s surprise, Phillipa makes expedition plans of her own when she draws Langley into a dangerous game of subterfuge in order to find Bennett’s journals and help him regain his place in society.
This is my first Suzanne Enoch novel. She writes with a great deal of humor and love for her characters. Phillipa and Bennett come to care for each other enough to compromise on what’s most important to each of them; it’s a lesson everyone can learn from. I’ve already put more of Ms. Enoch’s books on my list. While Hugh Jackman gives us something in common to admire, it’s Ms. Enoch’s writing that will keep me coming back for more.