I did a Buddy Read for this one, for more comments and quotes - The Devil is French Buddy Read
It is no secret that I loved the heck out Mr. Ridley, the first in this series that follows Mr. Ridley, an inspector with a dark past and Jemdanee, a skilled medicinal Indian woman. The first was their meeting, sparking, and emotional whirlwind. In this second addition, they are reunited after three years apart.
“If we don’t trust each other, Jemdanee, we’ll fail each other.”
I would suggest reading this right after the first or at least brushing up as I felt some of the characterization of Ridley felt off in the beginning as I remembered aspects of his persona that soften more at the very end of the first. I thought the beginning was a little annoying with every male finding Jemdanee the bees knees, we even have a super obsessed man, Bradley, in what felt like a little bit of easy danger and tension plot. I did enjoy the author's continued "make you think" comments, this time questioning motivations and actions of Christian and British works towards India and it's people.
When the book got about 35% in is when I finally felt like Ridley and Jemdanee started to click for me, they started to get their rhythm. I do think there were times that it felt like Ridley was imposing his thoughts and will on Jemdanee (I thought in the first she pushed back more), which gave their relationship a different tone.
I hate to say it but a lot of this book felt like filler to me. The whole middle part felt like Ridley constantly preparing Jemdanee for their sexual relationship and it felt like a lot of stalling. More often than not, stretched out one couple relationship series like this don't jive with me, so there could be some personal likes/dislikes happening here as this book was a very slowed down and focused but what felt like lack of trajectory.
At the end we finally get a direction with the author circling back to Ridley's father's murder and an arc for the third book. At the end, we do get a bedroom scene payoff but when it finally did come, I felt a bit disappointed. For all the talk and build up, there was a strange lack of emotion and heat for me. There were bald dirty words and actions but for how hot these two were out of the bedroom, the emotion was pretty stark in it.
Overall, I felt like the trajectory was off and most of this came off feeling like filler; nothing really resolved or accomplished but it is a middle book in a three part series. I'm still excited for the third in the series (I really do think Ridley's ex-wife should get a novella at the very least and ideally her own full length book/duology) to come out and see where these two end up.
Evan Oswald, I fear over time, we will erase each other with a need to prove ourselves to each other.”