Confession: I often fall into the human failing of putting people into boxes, not very good I know, but we all do it. If you think about it we do it to books too. This book is historical fiction, this book is fantasy, this book is contemporary romance. The best books and the best writers, are those that don’t fit into a specific category or break the mold in a given category. Let me introduce you to Sheralyn Pratt.
I had already read a couple of her romances when Pimpernel came out, so I picked it up and loved it! The characters were beautifully well developed and flawed but still realistic. And then out of no where she throws a curve ball. I literally had to read the whole book over again, up to that point, because of the paradigm shift she presents to her readers; it was genius! And I loved the book all the more for not only surprising me, but creating a plot that challenged me and had all the feels. So, when I got the email that Pimpernel: Royal Ball was coming out, I knew it was a must read.
I got it the first day it was available and Sheralynn Pratt shifted my paradigm again. This time in a big way, she was bustin’ out of all sorts of boxes.
First of all the book description gives nothing away. “One man, one night, one dance, and one question…none of which Claire Ramsey sees coming. She thinks the night is a test—a call to rise above her insecurities and step more fully into her skills. It’s been a year since she learned about the Pimpernel and fell in love with the man of so many masks. Jack’s world is full of high stakes and big players, and Claire wants in. To her frustration, Jack is dragging his feet on letting her all the way into both his heart and his work. The risk is too high, he says. But Claire is ready to prove him wrong. She’s ready to go all-in.
What Claire doesn’t know is that Jack is no lone wolf, and the world he is shielding her from is much bigger than she has ever imagined. But one man, one night, one dance, and one question will change everything.” Sounds like Pimpernel part 2… it’s not. It is so much better.
I have to confess I had a hard time shifting with her this time. In “Pimpernel” the story was enhanced by seeing both Jack and Claire’s point of view. They’re such opposing personalities the story was given more depth and nuances from seeing it through both lenses. In “Pimpernell: Royal Ball” we get both points of view again, but we also see things through Kali’s eyes. At first I felt like Kali’s chapters were a distraction, they didn’t seem to flow with the plot and it took effort to try and fit her in.
Then we meet Malachi who is described as a secretive genius with his own agenda and schedule which no one seems to understand until months afterwards. As I continued to read I realized, Sheralyn Pratt is her own kind of Malachi. Lightbulbs started going on all over the place, the biggest being Kali. Kali is the resident skeptic and through Kali’s suspicion and distrust it allows us to question the new direction of characters we thought we knew. The more Kali is drawn into this new world the more we are too until you realize that, through Kali, Sheralyn Pratt has shifted you out of the box you’d put her stories into, into something much cooler. The characters you’ve come to know and love have amazing possibilities and millions of story line directions and you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. So, Sheralyn, you better not make us wait too long, I’m just saying. –N.C.