Entwined - Emma Jensen 3.5 Stars.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it quite a bit. Had I read it in 1995 when it was first published, I probably would have given it 5 stars. 18 years later, however, it's got a few too many "old school" attributes for me to love it.

The heroine, Isobel, is fantastic. She's plucky, smart and blurts out exactly what she's thinking. Her life isn't easy but she's doing the best she can to keep her family together despite being saddled with a couple of knuckle-headed brothers and foolish father. Enter the hero who is blind but keeping it a secret from everyone. Nathan is a spy who has been injured and retreats to his country estate to recuperate and hide from the world. Isobel's father is working for him as a secretary but when that doesn't work out, Nathan coerces Isobel into accepting the position provided she live with him at his estate. Only Isobel has figured out he's blind and he needs her assistance with some unresolved spy business.

The interactions between Isobel and Nathan are great. They are intellectual equals despite being from different social classes. He becomes instantly attracted to her and starts proposing marriage. She eventually accepts and the rest of the book focuses on how she falls in love with him and there is some spy/mystery/dangerous stuff thrown in for added conflict.

What didn't quite work for me was how Nathan fell in love with Isobel and how much he took her agreeable nature for granted. He wasn't an asshole but bordered on it at times. Also, I was a bit mystified as to how well Nathan could, despite blindness, ride a horse alone but couldn't eat soup without making a mess. The spy plot was trite and unoriginal (at least by today's standards) and except for setting up a couple of sequels, completely skippable.

What did really work for me was the romantic/sexual tension. The author does a great job of building it up and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough during the encounters between Isobel and Nathan.