Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NOVELLA REVIEW: "Winter's Heat" by Zoe Archer


Winter's Heat (Nemesis, Unlimited, #1.5)
Winter's Heat by Zoe Archer
(Nemesis Unlimited #1.5)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Sex, Language)
Historical Romance
St. Martin's Press -- October 22, 2013
Ebook, 100 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES 
Novella, Spies, Unconventional Hero, Holiday

SUMMARY
An auxiliary Nemesis agent and one of their former clients go undercover as servants at a country estate during the Christmas season to expose corruption amongst Society's elite.

Michael and Ada never thought they would again be working side-by-side in the pursuit of justice, and now that they're on a case together, the attraction they had once shared flares to life, making a dangerous assignment even more unpredictable.

FIRST LINE
"What are you doing here?" a woman's voice demanded in the hallway.  "Who are you?"

MY THOUGHTS
I really enjoyed the first book in Zoe Archer's new historical series, Sweet Revenge, and I was excited to see more of Nemesis Unlimited.  For readers who are new to this world, Nemesis is a group of people from all walks of life in Victorian England whose ultimate goal is to get justice for those who cannot get it for themselves.  They mainly focus on the poor, women, and children.

Michael is an accomplished agent while Ada is a former Nemesis client who lends her aid to the group in thanks on occasion.  These two are placed in a family's country home in order to gain evidence about an upper-class couple who used to run an orphanage that was actually a workhouse.  Both Michael and Ada go undercover as temporary servants during the holidays in order to complete this mission.  Unfortunately, things are complicated by the fact that these two are former flames and haven't seen each other in more than six months.

I loved the premise of this story and how it introduced readers to Nemesis.  Undercover work is always fascinating to me and the fact that our two protagonists were posing as servants just made it more interesting.  In addition to the spy work, readers get to see how a grand country home runs on a daily basis and how it is changed around Christmas.  I am a fan of Downton Abbey and I could definitely see some resemblances in the way that the upstairs and downstairs crews worked together.

Because of the shorter length of Winter's Heat, there was not a lot of time to fully develop Michael and Ada, but I thought Ms. Archer did an admirable job.  I loved Ada's character and the resiliency she showed despite her personal difficulties.  Housemaids always seem like the strongest people and Ada shows that strength in spades.  She is determined to show Nemesis that she could be a good agent and is willing to help them out in exchange for their assistance in her past.  I also really liked Michael who specializes in acting as a male servant in order to dig up dirt on the Society's best.  I would like to have learned more about his past and how it shaped him, but he was an enjoyable character nonetheless.

The romance between Ada and Michael was a great combination of sweet and sexy.  The fact that they knew each other before this story helped with the insta-love element that often happens in novellas.  Their sexual tension was well-written and they both really came alive when bantering back and forth.  I did think the penultimate love making scene was a little contrived in its timing and placement, but that is the only major thing I can complain about.

Overall, I found Winter's Heat to be an entertaining and quick read.  One doesn't need to be familiar with the Nemesis series to find it charming and I think it acts as a great introduction.  Can't wait to read Simon's story next!


3.5 STARS

FAVORITE QUOTE
"My skirts aren't a theater curtain for you to peep through," she hissed.
"Impatient for the show to begin," he answered, unrepentant.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Sweet Revenge
1.5. Winter's Heat
2. Dangerous Seduction
3. Wicked Temptation (Coming 2014)

4 comments:

  1. Hmm not sure where the first comment went but was saying the series sound really great. I love the set up for it and am totally going to check it out :) Thanks for the heads up!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read the first book and this novella sounds interesting. Great review!

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  3. the quote just made me laugh. I just was able to get a book by this author through the library, so I am really excited especially after reading your fabulous review!

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