The Perils of Pleasure (Pennyroyal Green Series #1)

The Perils of Pleasure - Julie Anne Long A much more complex book than its title... layered characters, involved plots, twists & turns... I truly enjoyed this book! I admit that there was a bit of head turning during my page turning. There wasn't as much preamble or background as you might expect; most of the back story comes out as the story takes place. So at first, I found myself a little confused about who was who and what was really taking place. But *that* seemed to be the idea... the web the author was spinning around us as she wove the story.I'm an avid mystery/thriller fan, and I'm rarely ever fooled. But Ms. Long is really good -- she provides enough bread crumbs for the reader to be certain who is behind it all, only to reveal who is *really* behind the curtain on virtually the last pages of the book! Well done!Colin seems to be nothing more than a rake who's been able to get away with anything and everything his entire life because of his good looks, his charm, his devil-may-care attitude, and because he's an Eversea. Mrs. Madeline Greenway seems to be a cold-hearted mercenary, good at planning and executing plans, bad at emotion. You expect from the title that these two are going to find one another and have a torrid affair -- especially since they find themselves on the run, without funds, and with no idea whom to trust. But the beauty of this story is that you're never quite sure what path or route you're on; it captures you and draws you in, so that you can't help but keep reading. Because it's *good* -- well-done. It's not a bodice-ripper romance; there is substance here, along with large doses of humor. And the author always manages to keep you a bit off-balance, so that you can't exactly anticipate what comes next. And no matter what you *think* you know will happen at the end to wrap it all up, as a reader, you will literally ask yourself if it's possible that a romance can end tragically. Because there's no guarantee that Hero & Heroine will end up together, kissing passionately as the sun sets.I don't often find myself picturing actors or "real" people while I read books; I usually see someone in my mind, I'm not casting. But in this case, I couldn't help but see Matt Bomer, who plays Neil Caffrey on USA network's "White Collar". Which, I suppose, makes perfect sense, since Neil is a too-handsome-for-his-own-good con artist. I can't wait to read the next of the Pennyroyal Green books!