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Review by Riley

About Unexpected Danger

Who knew a new friendship could be so dangerous?

Looking for peace and quiet, Margaret Taylor moves to a small Oxfordshire village to write about the Great War. She believes the idyllic countryside and picturesque hamlet would be the perfect contrast to the noise and distractions of Jazz-age London. Then one afternoon, she receives an unexpected invitation from a mysterious nobleman.

Christopher Tobias, forty-fifth Earl of Yawron, hasn’t left the grounds of his family’s estate since an accident that left him disfigured many years ago. Cloistered behind the protective walls that shield him from the outside world, he speaks to no one but his servants. Everything changes when he notices a young woman standing outside his gates staring curiously at his mansion. Intrigued, he takes a chance he never thought he would.

Margaret and Christopher must face decisions that will change their lives forever. As their relationship grows, Christopher’s past casts a dark shadow. Will Margaret’s future survive the demons of his past?

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Review of Unexpected Danger

I love the small town English countryside setting in Unexpected Danger. There is a lovely little cottage, afternoon tea with friends in a quaint tea shop, and a friendly grocer. The village of Oxfordshire, far away from big city distractions, seems the perfect place for a writer to get in tough with her muse. What could go wrong in such a picturesque setting? Right?

Hah! Things will get interesting as soon as Margaret visits the Earl of Yawron, Christopher Tobias. The initial meeting has a very gothic feeling to it. A terrible storm raging outside, dark rooms, shadows and a man wearing a hood so as not to show his face.

After the initial meeting of Margaret and Tobias, things turn from gothic to suspense. Now a stalker comes into the picture. By visiting the mysterious earl in the castle, Margaret seems to have horribly upset someone’s status quo and that person is not happy. For the rest of the book, Margaret defies the stalker and continues to develop her friendship with Christopher. You know this is headed for a showdown that will not turn out well for everyone involved.

The story takes place during the Jazz age – 1920’s England. Despite the 20’s being a time of progression of women’s rights and changing attitudes toward independent women, change is slow to come everywhere, but perhaps never so much as provincial England. As soon as Margaret enters the earl’s estate, she becomes the latest scandal in Oxfordshire.

I needed a bit more to remind me of the time period, to better understand the attitudes of the people of Oxfordshire. Most of the time, as I was reading, I felt it could have been present day. Which made the attitudes of many of the townspeople seem juvenile, occasionally lending an angsty YA feel. Once I reminded myself of where and when I was, I felt better.

In the end, I really liked how the heroine and the hero got in some equal opportunity rescuing. Margaret is no damsel in distress and Christopher is not a spineless recluse. A happy ever after is possible if they work together.

Lisa Pugh’s novel, Unexpected Danger, will appeal to you if you like historical mystery and suspense with a just the right amount of romance added to perfect the story.

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