What a hot mess. A truly, truly terrible hot effing mess. I can't even enumerate all the reasons why this book is so terrible 'cuz if I do, I will impWhat a hot mess. A truly, truly terrible hot effing mess. I can't even enumerate all the reasons why this book is so terrible 'cuz if I do, I will implode with rage. Suffice it to say that the only likeable character in this book—the heroine—was repeatedly victimized by her mother, her sisters, her cousin, the entire ton, and the man designed to be her happily-ever-after hero (who essentially rapes her). All of whom, by the way, blame everyone but themselves—and preferably the heroine—for why they have to behave so despicably. Terrible, terrible, terrible book. I won't be going near another Alexandra Hawkins novel unless I'm armed with holy water and maybe a wooden stake....more
I...have no idea what I just read. I mean, I've shelved it as "historical romance," and I suppose it is...if it's the sort of historical romance I wouI...have no idea what I just read. I mean, I've shelved it as "historical romance," and I suppose it is...if it's the sort of historical romance I would've written when I was 9 years old. And by that, I don't mean to disparage either my 9 year old writer self or Ms Juliet James: I wrote a pretty awesome yarn at 9 years old. But I also had only the merest grasp of plot and genre and point of view, all of which Ruby fumbles and stumbles with, too.
Up until the midpoint of the novel, I was certain the hero and heroine were Ben and Ruby. After all, up 'til that point, no other characters have any share in the storytelling. Sure, Ben's brother Matt has a thought or two threaded willy-nilly into Ben's third-person narrative, but most of the tale belongs to Ben. And then Ruby gets to town...and falls arse over tea kettle for Matt, who also thinks she's the world's best thing since the great epic love story of his Ma and Pa!
Maybe this is one of those romances where the wrong brother ends up engaged to the heroine and the hero has to sweep in and Fix Everything?
Nope. Not one of those stories. Matt and Ruby end up married. The End. And I mean that literally: The End, that's all she wrote, there's no more to the book. They get married. The End.
Ms James has a knack, I think, for capturing the voice of the characters and making you care about what matters to them. But judging by Ruby, she has no idea how to tell a story about those characters and clearly lacks sufficient experience with the romance, or even the western, genre to understand and play with the tropes and mechanisms of those types of stories.
If you read Ruby as a tongue-in-cheek spoof of a Western romance, it has a certain charm, but I don't believe the author intended it as such. Instead, it's disappointing and peculiar and rather pitiful....more
Robin Schone has a knack for writing about unusual heroes and heroines involved in unusual situations, both personal and romantic. And this, the lastRobin Schone has a knack for writing about unusual heroes and heroines involved in unusual situations, both personal and romantic. And this, the last of The Men and Women's Club series, is no exception.
But as Cry for Passion went on, the unusual aspects of Jack's and Rose's lives served less to invest me in their emotions, fears, and cares and more to distance me from them. While they possessed distinct personalities and hopes and needs at the beginning of the book, all ripe with potential, by the end they seemed mere actors on the stage of England's historical battle for women's and wives' rights.
Not that such a history isn't important or interesting, but the plot and characters were so caught up in legal machinations that the romance and the connection between the hero and heroine fell by the wayside. I finished the book feeling as if I understood the English legal system under Queen Victoria's rule far better than why the hero and heroine belonged together....more
Faery Magic started off strong but lost much of the emotional, and Faerie, momentum in the second half. Jo Beverley's tale possessed her usual attentiFaery Magic started off strong but lost much of the emotional, and Faerie, momentum in the second half. Jo Beverley's tale possessed her usual attention to characterization and historical detail. Karen Harbaugh offered a lovely, languid retelling of Rapunzel. Barbara Samuel's story had an interesting premise, but the romance seemed rushed and flat amid its faery framework. And I mostly skimmed Mary Jo Putney's piece, which seemed both too full of characters and almost completely empty of either magical or romantic resonance...neither of which is at all typical of her work. Not a bad collection, but not quite as impressive as I think these authors are capable of, either....more