I'm really surprised that this book doesn't have higher ratings. A historical romance has to blow me out of the water to get above 3 stars from me, buI'm really surprised that this book doesn't have higher ratings. A historical romance has to blow me out of the water to get above 3 stars from me, but most of the time other books similar to this (in my mind) usually have 4+ stars. I think that for many people this book will be a 4 or 5 star book. In order to like this book, you must have a very slight appreciation of history - not just the romance side of things - because there is a bit of war intrigue here. It is set just before/during the Napoleonic Wars, and it is definitely an important subplot.
Miss Fairbourne's father, owner of a prestigious auction house, has just passed away, leaving his business to his son, Miss Fairbourne's brother. Miss Fairbourne plans to keep the business running, but her father's silent partner has other plans. The Earl of Southwaite is a lover of fine things and artwork, which explains his interest in the auction house, and he wants to sell the auction house, believing the brother dead, as most do. Miss Fairbourne knows her brother's ship sank into the ocean, but she believes just as her father did that he is still alive. It is not long before Miss Fairbourne realizes that there are a number of things standing in her way, least of which is the stubborn Earl.
Others have commented that this book is boring, and I did think that there were some pacing issues. That being said, for the most part I was kept reading. I think that you may need to have more interest in history than the average historical romance reader, but it is definitely a slightly more complex story, not entirely focused on the romance.
The same things that tend to bother me about other books bothered me about this novel. The characters are more or less unbelievable and act modern/outside of the typical class system. There are women who act like they were born in the 21st century. There are improbable coincidences and and unlikely twist to the ending. There is a domineering male (not so bad as in other novels, though) and a spunky heroine. It comes with the territory of a romance novel, though....more
Let me start this review off by saying, many people will love this book. Despite the lack of a nearly naked woman on the front cover in a brightly colLet me start this review off by saying, many people will love this book. Despite the lack of a nearly naked woman on the front cover in a brightly colored lush gown, this book reminded me of the types of books you will get from Loretta Chase, Sarah MacLean, and Elizabeth Hoyt (just to name a few). It appears this book was marketed differently from other historical romances for some reason, perhaps because it is a bit cleaner and less steamy than the others mentioned above, but I think the cover is a bit misleading. I more expected something in the vein of Georgette Heyer.
The novel opens with a fairly confusing scene in which Jane has been forced to miscarry her bastard baby by her father and the main villain of the story, Lady St. John. Jane is then forced to accept the care of a merchant, Allenby, because her father has disowned her. Four years later, Allenby's will forces a marriage between Jane and the Earl of Salt, the father of Jane's dead baby. As Salt's and Jane's relationship grows, they are forced to realize that things in the past are not as they seem. Meanwhile, the meddling Lady St. John cannot quite give up on her hope to make Salt hers. Slightly insane, she will go to any lengths to destroy the marriage of Jane and Salt.
While the plot was formulaic, I have to say the novel did keep me up late reading just to find out what happens next; however, a lot of my reading turned into skimming because of the excessive wordiness the author needed to describe scenes. Everything required paragraphs and paragraphs of explanation. Like, I don't need to know where the butler went before he ended up in the bookroom guarding over Jane. Suffice to say, he is there watching her, and the fact that he first talked to Jenkins and then to Arthur, who said Jane was in the bookroom, but the butler found out she was not alone.... Blah, blah, blah, I don't care. Back to the plot, though, this is why I think fans of your typical historical romance a la Eloisa James will like this book. I often find these types of books predictable and frustrating, but I know that others like them a lot. There is the reformed rake who is singularly in love with the heroine, who is breathtakingly, uncommonly, stunningly beautiful (all of these descriptions are used more than once, ad nauseum) both inside and out. There is a bit of a contrived plot, but at least The Big Misunderstanding happens before the novel begins, so there is not a lot of angry flare ups between the characters over nothing. That being said, this Big Misunderstanding could have been solved by a simple conversation between the two of them at the very beginning of the book. Alas, then there would be no novel. Despite all of this, I got into the novel and wanted to know what would happen next, so I guess all-in-all the plot was a success.
The number one most frustrating thing about this book was the confusing nature of the characters' relations. I will go ahead and spell it out here to hopefully save someone else from the headache. Jane's father is married to her stepmother, Rachel Despard. She is disowned by both of them and seeks shelter from Rachel Despard's brother, Jacob Allenby. Rachel Despard has a son from a past marriage, Tom, who is Jane's stepbrother or brother-in-law as he is sometimes called, so Jacob Allenby is Tom's uncle and Jane's uncle by marriage. Salt is the man Jane had an affair with, and his cousin/bestie was Lord St. John, who is dead and was married to Lady St. John, who's in love with Salt. Lord St Antony, often referred to as Tony (confusing because we also have a Tom), is Lady St. John's brother. Make sense? Thought so.
Finally, I've already mentioned how Jane is perfection reincarnated, but I thought it was strange that every other woman mentioned in the book was also described as beautiful. There are no plain people in this book, which is a bit unrealistic. Also, Lucinda Brant must really be into wide backs, beefy shoulders, and quivering nostrils, because these qualities are all mentioned several times mostly talking about the Earl, but not always. To me, anyone describing any body part as beefy is not attractive... At least, though, the characters were all likeable, even the secondary ones, except for the evil villain. Like I've already mentioned, I can see why for many people this will be a five star book. The things that make it so for those people, make it a three star book for me. That's to say, I liked it but didn't love it. If you like any of the authors I've mentioned previously, you will like this book.
I've read other reviews complaining about editing, but it seemed to me that a lot of the flaws must have been fixed since they read this and I did. I didn't find many mistakes, and a few of the ones I did find seemed to be due to the print-to-kindle conversion that you often see. One thing I will say, though, if you are reading the kindle version, the formatting is very funny. There is no indent to the start of paragraphs, so it gets a bit confusing because sometimes old paragraphs bleed into new ones. Definitely something that added a little to the confusion, but I quickly got used to it. ...more
I wavered between giving this book 3 or 4 stars. The first half of this book qualified at a low 3, while the second half could definitely have earnedI wavered between giving this book 3 or 4 stars. The first half of this book qualified at a low 3, while the second half could definitely have earned it a 4. The frustration I felt at the beginning of the book overshadows my interest in the second half, so I finally settled on 3.
The plot is fairly simple. Marianne Daventry's mother died 14 months ago, and she has been living in Bath every since with her grandmother. When her twin sister, Cecily, invites her to a summer at a country estate called Edenbrooke, she jumps at the chance. Marianne becomes fast friends with her host, handsome and dashing Phillip, who is by far the best character in the story. For as the author describes him, he is sure to be every reader's perfect man.
I guess my biggest issue with the novel was the fairly formulaic plot. This novel has several of the most typical regency era plot devices: there is a free-spirit-type girl trying to learn how to conform to society's expectations of elegant ladies, a chance encounter at an inn, an accidental fall in a river (witnessed by the hero, to the heroine's mortification), a heroine who desires to learn how to fence and finds embroidery dull, and a last-minute rescue by the hero of the story to cap everything off. Thankfully, if you can make it through the first half of the book, most of these cringe-worthy moments disappear. You will still be faced with stiff and unrealistic dialogue ("Did you just stomp your foot?") and a weak and embarrassing 1st person narrative voice (My face grew hot even as his smile grew. He only said that about my supposed beauty to make me blush), but this is still worth the read. It is a light and easy read, but there's nothing wrong with that every once in a while....more
It's pretty bad when I don't feel like I have anything to say about a book one way or another after I've finished it. Since I don't have anything badIt's pretty bad when I don't feel like I have anything to say about a book one way or another after I've finished it. Since I don't have anything bad to say, I can't give it less than 3 stars. I also don't have anything good to say, so I can't give it more than 3. I found this book adequate and average. I read the whole thing in a few days, and it was all passable....more
This was an ok to good book. 3.5 stars. I expected a romance, but I found that the family intrigue kept me reading more than anything else. There areThis was an ok to good book. 3.5 stars. I expected a romance, but I found that the family intrigue kept me reading more than anything else. There are so many layers of mystery to this novel that I cannot even begin to delve into all of them. Let's just say it's complicated.
I do think the book ends in an awkward spot. I knew that the book was the first of a trilogy, but I didn't realize that it wouldn't tie anything up at the end of the novel. If you want to truly discover the answer to any of the mysteries, then you have to keep reading. I found this frustrating. I had hoped that the book would finish its story, and the remaining novels would follow Yvette or Jeanette or George or some of the other characters. Instead, you're merely left with a bunch of questions.
I thought it was apparent that the book was coauthored, and the writing could definitely have been tighter. The style subtly changed a few different times. It could have been better.
My other qualm is that it seems that the romance between Paul and Charmaine is kind of forged. All of the sudden, Charmaine discovers she is in love with Paul. It seems like Paul is just pretending to be sweet and heroic with her. Every time we can see into his thoughts, all he can think about is getting it on. We don't see any of the conversations between Paul and Charmaine that make them fall in love. I just don't get it. In fact, I'm wondering if the authors want to make you dislike Paul to leave room for John. Of course, we probably won't know until the third book. Lame.
Regardless, I think I will read the second book. But I'll probably check it out from the library....more
Matthew Lansdowne, the Marquess of Sheene, is insane. At least, that's what his uncle would have the world believe, allowing the evil Lord John to conMatthew Lansdowne, the Marquess of Sheene, is insane. At least, that's what his uncle would have the world believe, allowing the evil Lord John to control his nephew's estates. In an attempt to keep the Marquess docile and controllable, Lord John has two thugs kidnap a prostitute to service the Marquess. Unfortunately, they instead kidnap recently widowed Grace, who is not a prostitute and has no desire to do any such thing. She is locked away with the Marquess and ordered to seduce him or be killed. As the two form a bond, they also begin to plan an escape from the prison they are in.
I enjoyed this book more than the other romances that I have read recently. I think that most readers taking issue with this book just don't like that it isn't a happy or "fluffy" romance. It does have depth, though, which is why I like it.
It also has a healthy amount of sexual tension (and just plain sex). I am tired of all of the books where the hero and heroine sleep together in the first 20%. At that point, what's there to keep me reading? This book manages to hold out a little longer.
The heroine is still beautiful. She requires a few last-minute saves by the hero. The hero is still handsome. He is tortured and angsty. And pretty much always dazzled by the heroine. The plot was undeniably unrealistic and far-fetched. The writing is very good. The flow and structure of the prose was enjoyable and better than most romance novels. Basically, it's still a typical romance formula, just done a little bit better by Campbell than most authors. ...more
Blah. That's how I felt about this book. The writing was subpar, and the characters were unoriginal. The heroine is the same as the heroines found inBlah. That's how I felt about this book. The writing was subpar, and the characters were unoriginal. The heroine is the same as the heroines found in the earlier books in this series. Spirited, ignoring society's niche for women, stubborn, dropdead gorgeous, yada yada yada. Basically like you've dropped a 21st century woman into the book.
Of course, at his first site of her, the hero is enamored with our heroine. Boy, am I tired of that. Where's the build-up? Oh, wait, there isn't any. I think they had consummated their marriage by the first 15% of the book. After that, the loosely strung-together plot had to carry the book. Very, very, loosely. As in, riddled with plot holes and the most ridiculous and/or overused plot devices.
Very good book. Maybe not appropriate for those under 14. Sometimes the author's descriptions of the forest irritated me, though, and I found myself sVery good book. Maybe not appropriate for those under 14. Sometimes the author's descriptions of the forest irritated me, though, and I found myself skimming over them....more
This book was a huge disappointment. I went into it with high expectations, and I cannot say that they were met.
My main discrepancies are as follows:This book was a huge disappointment. I went into it with high expectations, and I cannot say that they were met.
My main discrepancies are as follows:
The writing. The writing was not good. Sometimes the author was so specific I wanted to tear my hair out and other times it was frustratingly vague and disjointed. Not to mention the italics. I can read a book without the author having to emphasize everything that is being said. I get it. It's extremely insulting to the reader's intelligence.
There were almost a hundred pages of the book that went like this. The main characters awoke. And they made love. They ate breakfast. And they made love. They swam in a river. And they made love. Alexander smoked a cigarette. And they made love. They went to bed, but before they fell asleep, they made love. Give me a break. We get it. They're in love.
This brings me to the sex scenes, which are very poorly written as if by a very illiterate (but horny) high schooler. I don't mind sex scenes, and they can be tastefully done. But this author fails to make them steamy. Instead, I felt plain uncomfortable reading most of them.
The two star rating is only so high because I did finish the book. It took a long time, but I guess I cared enough to finish it. I definitely don't plan to read the sequel. And I would not recommend this to anyone. How in the world it got so many five star reviews beats me. Perhaps the author has signed herself up for hundreds of goodreads accounts and reviewed her own book. ...more
This author desperately needs a new copy editor. There, were, so, many, commas. Commas everywhere. The dialogue read stiffly. The characterization wasThis author desperately needs a new copy editor. There, were, so, many, commas. Commas everywhere. The dialogue read stiffly. The characterization was... non-existent. Skip this book....more
I liked this book. I thought the romance kept you reading and in suspense long enough, and the mystery of it kept me reading until the end. I did haveI liked this book. I thought the romance kept you reading and in suspense long enough, and the mystery of it kept me reading until the end. I did have a little bit of trouble liking the heroine, Alaina. It seemed to me like Woodiwiss tried too hard to make her an independent women, and eventually, her personality seemed contrived to fit Woodiwiss' definition of a modern-day heroine. Good if you're looking for an in-between books read. I would recommend going to the library to pick it up, though....more