A perfectly fine romance, but a) I'm a liiiiiittle sideye on how the Rom are portrayed in this story and 2) I *know* I have/am going to have an issueA perfectly fine romance, but a) I'm a liiiiiittle sideye on how the Rom are portrayed in this story and 2) I *know* I have/am going to have an issue with the way Kleypas semi-fetishizes male jealousy as inherent to Romani culture. I mean, I'm never the ideal audience for a jealousy storyline, as it is the opposite of alluring to me, but when you tie in the weird racial/ethnic component? Hoo boy. This book is a comparative offhand mention of, "you will never be alone with another man not your relative," etc etc etc, but I fear things in the next novel. ...more
While this is undeniably a romance novel, for me the actual romance and chemistry between the hero and heroine were the least interesting part of theWhile this is undeniably a romance novel, for me the actual romance and chemistry between the hero and heroine were the least interesting part of the novel. Not that it was bad! No, it's just that Milan has enmeshed her characters in quite a tangled pickle, and the familial relationships and just, I dunno, *daily logistics* of everyone were far more compelling to me than the push-pull between hero and heroine. We all knew Milan could write banter and charming characters, but here she's got even more plot going on than usual, and I ate it up with a spoon.
I really like how she doesn't pull punches: the hero *really* ruined the heroine's family, no mistaking, and they are *really* reduced circumstances, and it's not glossed over. The Worth family *is* odd (and, y'know, so is the hero), but everyone's quirks and personality tics are woven through their character, not the entirety of it. They're not just slapped-together bundles of character traits meant to serve as plot hindrances or furtherances for the romance. There are so many things here that could be irritating in the hands of a lesser writer, but Milan handles them with aplomb.
I can see how this book is not to some people's taste, as it was certainly not the book I was expecting based on the description, but I found it delightful. With each series, my interest in Milan's writing keeps growing. I couldn't finish the Carharts, tolerated the Turners, devoured the Sinisters, and I eagerly await the rest of the Worths. ...more
I get that part of the whole thing of the Bridgerton books is that everybody's got an ~idea~ that is preventing them from love, and the journey of theI get that part of the whole thing of the Bridgerton books is that everybody's got an ~idea~ that is preventing them from love, and the journey of the book is them overcoming that. I even liked how Quinn handled some of the more patently ludicrous ~ideas~ in the early books (hero being convinced he was going to die, getting all hung up in the Cinderella pastiche) and also the more down-to-earth (hey maybe it's in poor taste to lust after/marry my closest relative's widow), but, ugh, I just have no patience for the version of love at first sight that is presented here, i.e. the kind that disregards the objet d'amour's status as an independent thinking human being. And, yes, I get that the whole *point* of the book is showing how the hero moves past this to a fuller version of love, but it made me very, very short-tempered with the hero until he got to that point.
I mean, there's a cracking fun plot here with blackmail! and treason! and kidnapping! and arranged marriage! and a perfectly amiable (if very plot device-y) gay character! Don't bog me down with your stupid "I saw her neck and therefore whatever delusions she has of being in love with someone else will have to go away and stop bothering me" time wasting. ...more
Given how grating I found Hyacinth in earlier books (there's independent, and then there's "I know better than you and will tell you how to live yourGiven how grating I found Hyacinth in earlier books (there's independent, and then there's "I know better than you and will tell you how to live your life in the way that best amuses me," and I have very little patience for the latter"), this book went down easier than I thought it would. I thought the bits from Violet Bridgerton both in this book and On the Way to the Wedding talking about how she saw Hyacinth and Gregory grew up, the youngest of a very large family that lost their father before they could ever really remember him, were spot on and very kind constructive criticism. Quinn has a very nice touch on that maternal relationship, making the character foibles/flaws that drive the plot spring from very human, very real places, not just ridiculous notions (i.e. clearly I am going to die before the age my father did, no I'm still not over that one). ...more
An excellent palate cleanser after the distasteful-to-me To Sir Phillip, With Love. Look! It's real grownups with real grownup problems and a rake demAn excellent palate cleanser after the distasteful-to-me To Sir Phillip, With Love. Look! It's real grownups with real grownup problems and a rake demonstrating actual on-screen seduction skilz in bed! I was not particularly enraptured by either hero or heroine, but I solidly enjoyed them being grownups together, from the intimacy to the sex to the being responsible in running a business/estate/etc. It was such a refreshing change to have a romance where the titillation in the sex scenes is not even remotely tied to the heroine's inexperience (not that there's anything wrong with the "she had never felt this way before and daaaaaaamn it was nice" thing). Let's hear it for grownups finding love! ...more
I question the choices that position the tragedy of a woman's suicidal depression primarily as a burden to her husband, then later that husband throwiI question the choices that position the tragedy of a woman's suicidal depression primarily as a burden to her husband, then later that husband throwing his misery in his first marriage in the face of his second wife as evidence that she should never complain about how he treats her, because he's so much happier in the second marriage.
Too much "women are unknowable foreign creatures who are only good for banging and taking care of things I'm not interested in, like the house or children" to make this a frothy delight. Congratulations on not beating your kids, dude. That doesn't actually make you a good father or husband. ...more