The premise: In Hope’s Folly, Chaz’s ex-husband Admiral Philip Guthrie, who has converted to the side of the Rebel Alliance, is starting duties on a newly minted ship – Hope’s Folly. Actually, this new ship is an old clunker but beggars can’t be choosers. Philip must command the ship with a new, bare-bones crew, and when one calamity follows another it’s hard to tell if it’s because Hope’s Folly is barely held together with chewing gum and duct tape, or because of deliberate sabotage. In the meantime, one of his new crew is someone Philip is attracted to – Rya Bennton. She’s the daughter of his dead friend, Cory Bennton, a death Philip feels directly responsible for, but Rya doesn’t know about his role in her father’s death.
My Thoughts: I think you MAY be able to get away with reading this book without reading Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark if you just understand that our hero and heroine are ex-Fleet and now rebels fighting against a corrupt Empire. They are also fighting against the Farosians who have their own agenda against the Empire (they support another – Sheldon Blaine, for the thrown, but have no problem with capturing key rebels like Philip to use as collateral to free Blaine from the prison planet Moabar). I did a decent breakdown of enemy factions in my Shades of Dark review if you need reminding.
This book has about equal parts romance and intruigue/action (trying to discover if there’s an enemy aboard ship while fighting off attackers and keeping it running). The reader discovers before Rya who is responsible for some of the problems on the ship, but there’s a good reason for this (the clue is while she’s off page), so she makes believable mistakes. I liked the action because it proved how good both of them were at their jobs – Philip as the Admiral of the ship and Rya as security. They have to work together and in the meantime they discover how much in they have common – particularly when it comes to guns (their gun conversations were too cute).
Of course another thing they have in common is Rya’s father – Cory Bennton, an officer who Philip respected who was killed by the Empire because of close ties to Philip. Philip considers himself responsible and now worries about what Cory would think about Philip’s interest in Rya. Rya on the other hand remembers meeting Philip when she was 9 and he 25. She was crushing on him then. Even now, she thinks of Philip as her “long-long always-forever dream hero” but isn’t sure how serious he is about her, which made me laugh because meanwhile Philip’s imagining her dad killing him and isn’t sure how serious she is about him.
Overall: As usual, pure escapist fun that I have come to expect from this author. Either this or Shades of Dark could be my favorite on of the Dock five series, I haven’t decided yet (I liked Shades of Dark for it’s dark bits and Hope’s Folly for it’s light ones). I was interested to see how Philip would be portrayed when he got his own book – turns out he’s learned to trust his instincts over “the rules” and has become better for it. I really liked Rya’s character too, possibly one of my favorite Sinclair heroines – a tall, strong-minded, amazonian woman with a penchant for guns – really liked her.
News: I just peered at Linnea Sinclair’s website and there’s a fourth book under way with the working title Tracking Trouble! Yay! Looks like the protagonist will be Philip Guthrie’s younger brother Devin. From her website:
“OUT OF OPTIONS…Devin Guthrie can’t forget Captain Makaiden Griggs even though it’s been two years since she was in his family’s employ. A Guthrie does not fall in love with a mere shuttle pilot. Going against his wealthy family’s wishes isn’t an option—not with the Empire in political upheaval, much of it caused by Devin’s renegade older brother, Admiral Philip Guthrie. The Guthries must solidify their standing—financially, politically and socially—or risk losing it all. But when the Guthrie heir—Devin’s nineteen-year old nephew— goes missing, Devin’s loyalty to his family’s values is put to the test. And suddenly the unthinkable becomes the only option available: Devin must break the rules and risk allying himself with the one woman he could never forget—and was forbidden to love.”