William Richmond, the Earl of Claren, thought his dangerous past was merely a thing of memory. But when a blackmailer’s note arrives threatening the life of his young son, William must take the matter seriously. His son is the center of his world and he won’t risk anything happening to him. When he and his son find a man washed up along the shoreline, William discovers caring for the injured and seemingly amnesia stricken Daniel to be a pleasant distraction from his darker concerns.
Daniel Ashby has been cast out in disgrace and he knows too few who might still call him friend. Chance brings him to William after a violent storm washes him overboard. Though he pretends to suffer from memory loss, he knows the ruse won’t fool William for long. Instead, the two engage in a pleasant fantasy as Daniel recovers and grows ever closer to William and his son. William can’t help beginning to imagine a life where he is not forever alone and where his happiness might be complete. But secrets have lives of their own and William’s might just get Daniel killed before the fantasy can become reality.
Acceptable Lies is in fact just that: acceptable. The writing, while a bit too melodramatic, is adequate and the author does a good job capturing the passion between William and Daniel. Their scenes together are certainly the strongest parts of the book and, despite the almost ridiculous speed of their relationship, they are both likable creations, though not particularly original. They are the center that holds the much weaker plot together and keeps it from becoming too dull or altogether disappearing. Neither William nor Daniel are fully rendered, but nor do they suffer from a complete lack of characterization. Rather the author has given readers just enough information to make them relatable without being fully realized.
The plot is basic and pretty well trodden. It lacks originality and is, at times, painfully predictable. This said, it isn’t especially bad and most of the dangly bits are resolved by the end of the book. I would have preferred more depth throughout and the book almost seems disinterested in itself at times. When not focused on William and Daniel, Acceptable Lies tends limp along, not without direction, but rather lacking in motivation. It knows where it needs to go and does eventually get there, but not with any real excitement or impetus. We’re given only a vague sense of time and place but given the overall banality of the plot, this doesn’t serve as an especially large distraction.
Acceptable Lies is okay. Just okay. The plot is okay. The characters are okay and certainly a highlight when compared to the plot. Their romance is the strongest aspect of the book and though, at times, it succumbs to a general lack of believability, it does carry readers through the worst of the plot’s predictability. Acceptable Lies is like so many other romance novels that fall into the category of not terrible, but lacking memorability or true inventiveness. If you want an easy, mindless read for spring break or a rainy day, then Acceptable Lies might be a good choice.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.