Saturday 14 March 2015

Untrue Colors by Veronica Forand (Entangled Publishing 2015)

Untrue Colors (Entangled Select Suspense)

'She's on the run...
Brilliant art appraiser Alex Northrop's ex used stolen art to fund his nefarious activities. Now he wants her dead. But it isn't just herself she's worried about - if he discovers who she really is, he'll kill her family.

Professor Henry Chilton is shocked to find a beautiful stranger passed out in his bed, and even more so when the she reveals a priceless painting is a forgery - the painting he'd planned to use to fund a woman's shelter. She's mysterious and frightened, and he is determined to discover why.

Alex's knowledge of art is undeniable--just as Henry's attraction to her is irresistible. But in order to help him recover the real painting, Alex isn't just risking exposure...she's risking her life.'

A romantic thriller with just the right mix of romance and suspense. 
The protagonists, although very likeable and engaging, are cliché 'romantic fiction' characters.
On the run from an ex boyfriend, Alex is beautiful and super intelligent. She speaks multiple languages and is an art expert with the ability to detect forgeries even though she has had no formal training. She comes from a wealthy and politically connected American family and, wanting to escape her domineering father, changes her name after running away to Europe.

Henry is a professor, a rich Earl with a big castle and country estate which he is turning into a women's shelter. He is also a formal member of the SBS, the special forces unit of the British naval service and has a half brother who is a member of MI6. 
Luckily for Alex, it is Henry's dinner party she gate crashes after escaping another attempt on her life by her ex. 

Henry has used a family heirloom as collateral security to help fund his women's shelter and is shocked when Alex informs him that his piece of art is a fake. He is determined to get the original back and offers Alex a place to stay in exchange for her help. Unwittingly, this puts Alex back in the middle of the dangerous underworld of stolen art and arms deals in which Luc, her ex boyfriend, is heavily involved. Alex has to dodge Luc and his henchmen but it is only a matter of time before her past catches up to her and she has no choice but to sacrifice herself in order to save those she loves.

The suspense element in 'Untrue Colors' was cleverly done. The villains were quite evil and Alex had a lot to contend with when she was under their control. There was a certain sense of doom when Luc got hold of Alex, as it was clear that her experience would be a whole lot more than simply being tied up or locked away waiting for the hero to come to the rescue. 
Alex is a more gutsy character than that. She has to think on her feet and take chances in order to escape her ordeal, even if it means dying in the process.

Henry was a sweet kind of a character; a very American view of an English gentleman more suited to a historical romance, but nonetheless enjoyable as a romantic figure and I enjoyed the growing friendship and romance between the pair. Henry's brother, Simon, also cuts a fine and mysterious figure. His character is darker and more cynical in nature than Henry's but he is there for his brother and Alex when they need him.
I really hope Simon gets his own story next. With his alpha persona and MI6 background, a sequel is sure to be as charged with intrigue and excitement as 'Untrue Colors.'

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