A Tryst with Trouble was an adorable and quirky historical romance filled with mystery and starring two very fun characters. Lady Barbara Jeffords is forced to join forces with the odious (yet handsome) Marquis of Beningbrough when their relatives are implicated in a footman’s murder. Barbara is convinced that her sister did not murder the footman, and Ben is equally convinced that his cousin had nothing to do with it. Setting aside their intense dislike of one another, Barbara and Ben set out to find the murderer, but end up in a lot more trouble than they bargained for.
Lady Barbara is a voluptuous and outspoken young lady, and as a result, at 24 she hasn’t had any respectable proposals, and she’s come to terms with her fate as a future spinster. Lord Ben, at 28, has led a seemingly charmed life; however, he’s extremely guarded because of the rumors of his father’s apparent homosexuality. When these two join forces, sparks fly and they learn that first impressions can be deceiving; however, the road to this realization is hilarious and fun for the reader.
The mystery element played a large role in the short novel; however, I felt that it was more incidental and that Ben and Barbara’s relationship was the main point of the novel. If you’re looking for an involved mystery, I wouldn’t recommend this one. I found it fairly easy to determine the “whodunit” but what I was really reading this for was the Ben and Barbara. Their bantering and bickering was hilarious, and while this romance was pretty tame, I loved the sparing and the tension between the two characters.
My favourite scene between Ben and Barbara would have to be their first almost kiss. Barbara has snuck Ben into her bedroom so they can compare notes on the case; however, this innocent purpose quickly gives way to the romantic tension between them:
Just as his lips brushed mine, I snapped out of the trance I’d fallen into. Oh, no, I was not going to make that mistake again – the mistake of thinking a gentleman was interested in me when he wasn’t. The nicest thing Ben had ever said to me was that I wasn’t half bad. Just because he was unfairly handsome and had those beguilingly sleepy gray eyes didn’t mean I was going to kiss him – and in my bedroom, no less. I was nowhere near that idiotic.
I jumped back. “What are you doing?”
He drew back too, wearing a startled look. “What do you mean, what am I doing? What are you doing?”
“I asked first.”
He reddened. “I wasn’t doing anything.”
“Well, neither was I.”
“Good.” He glanced uncertainly at my face. (Except from p. 70)
There are countless similar interactions between our hero and heroine in A Tryst with Trouble and each one made the reading experience all the more enjoyable. In fact, this excerpt, from a chapter I read on the author’s website, was what initially drew me to A Tryst with Trouble. The back-and-forth banter, the misunderstandings, made for an enjoyable read.
To sum it up, this was a fun read that was more of a sweet romance than an explicit one. Barabara was an uncommon heroine and Ben was a rake with something to prove. These characters were what made this novel and for those looking for a light read, you couldn’t do better than A Tryst with Trouble.