Red Deception is J.C. Murtagh's debut novella - romantic, dramatic and full of scenes that could get you hot under the collar. But was her writing equally seductive?
“Judith Timbolt lives a life of poverty and servitude until the day she finds a new beginning in the hands of the deceased Lady Lora Noire. Donning her red cloak and identity, Judith embarks on a fairytale she could only dream of. When she steals the heart of the powerful Baron Blacwin, her dreams become a reality. Will Judith's fairytale unravel or will she be able to uphold her falsehood under the cloak of deception she has weaved?”(Goodreads)
With only 69 pages, Red Deception is ideal for anyone stuck in long commutes or lacking the time to read a full novel. And although I wouldn’t class it as erotic, it’s most definitely an adult’s book.
Living a seriously miserable life - in porverty, with abusive in-laws and a husband who is too much of a coward to do anything about it - Judith dreams of running away. It all changes when she is mistaken by a dead girl who is destined to marry the wealthy Calvin Blacwin. As our heroine is whisked away to his Manor House, she honestly believes her luck has changed. But, as they say in Brazil, lies have short legs - they can never run very far.
My regular readers will know this is not the first time I mention this. The problem I usually find with novellas is that they are so fast paced, the events in the story happen too fast to be believable. That is my classic (and boring) complaint with Red Deception. Within hours of arriving at the Manor, our heroine ends up in bed with the Baron and by the second day they are in love. For me, that is just too much too soon. I would have loved to see their romance (and her lies) unfold over a few days. There is also no time to find out more about Calvin, especially why Lora Noire killed herself not to marry him. So although he's famous for being vile, you really can’t see why. Another issue is the fact our leading lady leaves her son behind and doesn't seem to dwell a great amount over the fact she left him with a violent and poor family, but then puts him first in later scenes. Have things worked out differently, would she have gone back for him? I'm not convinced.
By now you might be thinking I didn't enjoy this book. Well... That's not true. J.C.'s prose is very captivating. I was so intrigued and caught in the story that I read Red Deception in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. Murtagh most certainly kept me on my toes.
If you like steamy romances, you will love this one.
Book Rating: ****