Review: Sweet Revenge by Zoë Archer

Sweet Revenge by Zoë ArcherFormat read: ebook provided by Edelweiss
Formats available: ebook, paperback, mass market paperback, audiobook
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Nemesis, Unlimited, #1
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Date Released: June 4, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

When Jack Dalton escapes from Dunmoor Prison, he has only one thing in mind—finding the nobleman who murdered his sister and making him pay. But when he reaches the inn where the Lord Rockley is rumored to be staying, three well-dressed strangers are there to meet him instead. And the pretty blonde is aiming a pistol right at his head …

Joining Nemesis, Unlimited has made Eva Warrick much more than the well-mannered lady she appears to be—one who can shoot, fight, and outsmart any man in the quest to right the injustices so often suffered by the innocent. She’s not afraid of the burly escaped convict, but she is startled by their shared attraction. She and her partners need Jack’s help to get to Rockley, but Eva finds she wants Jack for scandalous reasons all her own…

My Review:

I love Zoë Archer, but I had this on my ereader and lost track of the entire series. Then I volunteered to be part of a joint review of the third book in the series at The Book Pushers, thinking that I would be inspired to read books 1 and 2. (Also book 1.5)

Sweet Revenge is the first book in Archer’s Nemesis, Unlimited series, and it showcases her trademark storytelling of a strong woman and a desperate man dealing with adventurous and dangerous times.

One of the things I enjoy about her historical romances is that she gets close enough to our time that all the roles are recognizable, and that there is some technology for making things reasonable, and that her female characters have plenty of fight in them to make sure that they are recognized as being every bit as capable as their male colleagues, even though that equality wasn’t common in society.

But then, her heroines usually aren’t operating in “polite” society, and that is certainly the case with Eva Warrick and Nemesis, Unlimited.

First, think of Nemesis, Unlimited as a Victorian-era Leverage. Just like the crew in the late TV show, Nemesis, Unlimited exists to provide justice for average people against the rich, privileged and titled who think they are (and sometimes really are) above the rule of law.

So this first story has to both introduce the concept, and provide an avenue for the romance of the main characters, while obtaining a certain kind of justice for a class of people who otherwise have no recourse.

Lord Rockley is the epitome of the evil aristocracy who can buy, threaten or cajole their way out of any trouble, even murder, as long as he doesn’t prey on his own class. Rockley’s speciality is sadistic sex with women who will lose their reputation if they complain about his treatment of them.

Jack Dalton used to be one of Rockley’s bodyguards, until Rockley killed Dalton’s sister. To add the proverbial insult to the all-too-real injury, Rockley framed Dalton for theft and murder to get him out of the way. Dalton has only one goal, revenge on Rockley.

Nemesis, Unlimited also wants Rockley’s head for his threats and abuse against their current client. So when Dalton escapes from prison, with a little help from Nemesis, the two join forces. Dalton knows enough about Rockley to help Nemesis ensnare him in a little plot of their own. They just have to convince Dalton that setting Rockley up for a treason conviction is better than murdering him with his bare hands.

It’s Eva Warrick who is finally able to convince Dalton that revenge is a dish best served cold by believing that he is more than just a dumb bruiser. Meanwhile Dalton convinces Eva that she can be as hot as she wants with him, and still be the Nemesis agent that she needs to be.

It’s amazing how sexy a lot of mutual respect can lead to.

Escape Rating B: The plot against Rockley was a bit convoluted, but the introduction of this band of vengeance minded operatives was absolutely tons of fun. And it’s a great idea for a series, because there was so much of a chasm between conditions for the rich and treatment for the rest. Ordinary people need Nemesis to step in for them.

Both Eva and Dalton are interesting characters because they are capable of so much more than they believe themselves to be. Jack has always seen himself as a stupid thug, and Eva has cut off any possibility of a personal life because she believes she can’t tell anyone about her secret life in Nemesis.

Eva believes correctly that Jack is actually a smart man, and she values him for his brains as well as his brawn (also his body, but that’s not how she wins him). She respects his intelligence, and he finally comes to respect himself for it. Likewise, Jack not only already knows Eva’s secret life, but proves over and over again that he can both be trusted with it and that he understands her need to continue with Nemesis.

It’s too bad that they have to nearly give up on each other before they figure out that what they feel is really love, on both sides. But if you enjoyed Archer’s Blades of the Rose series, you’ll love Nemesis.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

4 thoughts on “Review: Sweet Revenge by Zoë Archer

  1. As soon as I saw this post in my email I knew I had to find out what your thought of this book! This series hadn’t been my usual genre to read but Zoe has made a convert of me because I have really enjoyed reading this series.

    Ironically this book is the next book on my TBR list and I’m glad I read your review first. I really love Zoe’s stories and actually I’m glad to found out a little more about Dalton’s background before I start reading it tonight. I think one of the problems you faced when reading it is that you didn’t think it was as compelling a story as the previous ones in her series but I think that anyone who hasn’t had the chance to read the previous books will really enjoy this and hopefully will then read the previous books as well.

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