No idea why it was called the Duchess War... she didn't want to be duchess? Her duchess mother in law didn't want her to be duchess (although she appeNo idea why it was called the Duchess War... she didn't want to be duchess? Her duchess mother in law didn't want her to be duchess (although she appeared in about 10% of the book)?
The beginning was really interesting, then the premise became dull because it wasn't clear why she didn't want to be a duchess... until the BIG SECRET was finally out.
The heroine was a bit annoying at times, but overall likable. The hero though was just too-good-to-be-true... he had no negative traits in his character except his insecurities. And of course, his less than credible sexual inexperience. He reminded me of a teenager, which, come to think of it, emotionally he was. So was the heroine. ...more
Russian Jane Eyre. It had it all. 1. 18 year old governess in love with a man in his mid thirties (aka Jane). 2. The male protagonist was dark, in appeRussian Jane Eyre. It had it all. 1. 18 year old governess in love with a man in his mid thirties (aka Jane). 2. The male protagonist was dark, in appearance as well as in his soul due to the death of his wife. (aka Mr. Rochester). 3. The male protagonist had a daughter (aka Adele). 4. The male protagonist had a mistress (aka Blanche). 5. Anastasia was super spiritual (as was Jane), except she was Orthodox instead of following the Church of England. 6. There was even a housekeeper who really liked the new governess.
The big difference, of course, was that the female protagonist was Russian. Not to mention she wasn't an orphan and had an incredibly privileged upbringing (like, going to the Winter Palace and knowing the czar). She was also beautiful, unlike Jane, and she was accused of murder, so she ran away to London. It was a pretty entertaining read, even though at this day and age it feels indecent to have a man this age lusting after a young girl....more
**spoiler alert** This is the book that everyone seems to like so much? Rape, mistreatment, and humiliation? An incredibly cowardly and clueless heroi**spoiler alert** This is the book that everyone seems to like so much? Rape, mistreatment, and humiliation? An incredibly cowardly and clueless heroine (don't worry, if you forget she's a coward, the author tells you... over and over) and a beast of a hero that needs a major beat up?
Basically the story is about an 18-yr old orphan who lives with her aunt and uncle in a Cinderella-like situation (rags, slaps, cleaning from sunup to sundown... the works) until the EVIL (the first of many) aunt decides when her pig of a brother comes to visit, that the heroine would go with him to London so that he could introduce her to the owner of an all girl's school and teach there. The heroine who is the epitome of NAIVE, believes this and goes along happily. Of course the brother is EVIL and wants to 'try out the wares' before sending her to the girl's school, which is actually a brothel. Sooooo, in the middle of his assault, the heroine FINALLY understands what he wants, she uses a fruit knife (which was super conveniently placed on the bedside table... I guess so that one could eat a piece fruit in bed? But wouldn't one just bring along the knife along with the fruit? Or was it customary to have it there? Anyway...) to stab his ARM... yes, his ARM, so the heroine thought she KILLED HIM with a stab ON THE ARM. Therefore, since he had tricked her into dressing like a whore for dinner (when she STILL didn't realize his intent), she runs out on the street, gets accosted by two sailors who take her to a boat (she thought the local magistrate had sailors working for him to look for her. I kid you not!) so she 'gave herself up' to the captain, which turns out not to be the magistrate (really?) and was just looking for a night of fun with a willing mate (aka prostitute), so he forces himself on her, realizes she's a virgin, and does so again a couple of more times while wondering how a whore could be a virgin (he's not so bright either). The next morning she runs away to her aunt's again (because that's her haven) saying the brother told her to return because he had to travel (like what?), and her Cinderella story continues until her aunt (the girl never does) realizes she's with child (I'm getting into the spirit of the lingo), forces the story from her, and decides they will contact the heroine's father's best friend (who has some legal weight) to force the American captain to marry her. The heroine is sooooo happy to see her father's friend (so why didn't she go directly to him after KILLING BY STABBING ON THE ARM. Maybe she forgot?) and the guy tracked down the captain, forced him to marry her and they sailed to North Carolina. The plot, when they finally got to North Carolina, was all about wanting to 'be together' but seeming to purposely think the worst of the other, combined with people bursting in on them all.the.time! Thank god I didn't live in that era, I wouldn't have survived from the lack of privacy.
And of course, there was the spurned fiancee who was a cheap caricature of EVIL (don't let me get started on the actual bad guy who of course was monstrous and EVIL looking. I guess his EVIL soul was reflected on his physical deformities?) who also constantly came to call, tries to humiliate the heroine bringing up her past 'adventures' with the hero... I mean, why was she even an issue anymore? Didn't she have any problem looking whorish? Her presence was redundant and it was a true relief when she was killed off, along with another woman (this was the 'mystery' part of the story... except that well, it wasn't. It was pretty obvious who had committed the EVIL (hint-hint) crimes right from the first).
I wonder if this was where the trend started of the 'absolutely perfect in every way' physical characteristics of the heroine in which EVERY SINGLE MALE who saw her fell instantly IN LOVE/LUST and there was just NO COMPARISON to anyone else in the WORLD (the world being rural North Carolina). Ditto to the hero but in a 'masculine way', aka: smelling of sweat and horse and man (which is supposed to be sensual?), looking hot in just about anything and every time he moved. The thing is that he didn't move in a 'cat/panther-like way' which most heroes from historical and contemporary romances seem to be afflicted with).
After about the fourth guy who wants to rape/kidnap/kiss/take advantage of the heroine because she is soooooo beautiful, it gets kind of repetitive and lame. Not to mention that the hero already 'did the deed' a minute after he met her due to the same reason. So, this book could've been edited to about 50% of its pages.
Anything that I did like? Well, I liked Hatti, a mammy very similar to that of Gone with the Wind, and I also thought the hero's brother, Jeff seemed to be mildly human (he wasn't a male apparition and he was actually polite. You know, how people were supposed to be in the 19th century South). Hmmmm... I also liked the jewels the heroine got all the time, that was a nice touch on behalf of the hero. He like, screamed and humiliated in one scene and acted perfectly romantic in another by giving jewels. Schizo? I really liked the Websters and their story, who were mentioned only a couple of times and then never again. Oh, and Mrs. Clark! And I think that's about it. The secondary characters were most interesting, written in a toned down version (which is wildly necessary for this author), making them more real.
Basically, it was a DRAG reading this book, however I got through with it because so many people have praised it.
Again I ask, what's to like?
Anyway, I DIDN'T like it, there were so many things wrong with it in so many levels and I will not be recommending it to anyone... I will actually be recommending people NOT to read it.
From all the Susan Elizabeth Phillips I'vSPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS *
From all the Susan Elizabeth Phillips I've read (about 6-7), this is the most disappointing due to the despicable action carried out by the heroine. Granted, many of her characters start off being conceited and generally unlikable (see Ain't She Sweet), but the fact that they grow and learn from their past and errors is what makes a good story... which is definitely NOT what happened in this "Fancy Pants."
The main character, Francesca Day, is the typical richy brat who gets all she wants when she wants, until she doesn't, which is when she meets the hero, Dallie Beaudine, her opposite in every way. Basically he rescues her even when he's not overly enthusiastic about doing so due to Francesca's scratchy personality, but of course they start to like each other and the inevitable happens. Unfortunately, the hero also much of a hero and ommitted the 'small' detail that he was married, so Francesca lost it and ran away... which is where it starts to get really ugly. Instead of being the bigger person, demonstrating she grows up and that it's not longer only about her and her protagonism, what does she do? She HIDES the fact that she got pregnant, even though she KNEW he would love to have had a child. This is NOT the usual case in which the man gets freaked out about having a child and makes mistakes so the heroine runs away; not, it's about a man who lost a child and would have probably been more than happy to have another one (once it was clear one was on the way - it's not like he was looking to impregnate someone) but the heroine, instead of telling him and dealing with it together, she HIDES IT FOR 10 YEARS. Yes, TEN YEARS. I'm sorry, but that is just WRONG. You do not HIDE a child from his/her father for ten years simply because he made mistakes or got you angry or because you 'have something to prove...' The only way it would be acceptable to do this if the father was an abuser and the mother wanted to protect the child, which is not this case at all. Francesca continued to make it ALL ABOUT HER. The only thing she changed/improved was the fact that she stopped whining and craving for luxury, but actually DID something about getting it. That's ALL. As a person, there was very little growth. Even towards the end, Dallie's miraculous wins was due to HER wanting him to win for HER... it was never about Dallie overcoming his internal demons. Personally, I think this was pretty shoddy writing. Unless the author's intent was to actually leave the reader with a bad taste in one's mouth, which she succeeded to do marvelously.
All in all, I gave it two stars because at least it was entertaining, but just about that. I don't plan on re-reading this book anytime in the future....more
Extremely believable depiction of what an alcoholic goes through when trying to battle it out, especially in the 19th century when they wouldn't haveExtremely believable depiction of what an alcoholic goes through when trying to battle it out, especially in the 19th century when they wouldn't have known how alcoholism worked or that it was even a disease. Not to mention that it was actually expected for a 'gentleman' to drink all the time. This brings to mind the 1950s idea that smoking was 'cool' before understanding all the negative health issues it actually brings.
As for the love story, the slow pacing in which it occurred was also credible as too often romance authors make the mistake of having the main characters fall in love almost the minute they lay eyes on each other, which can become a repetitive drag. Real people usually become interested in each other before actually falling in love, or fall in love due to the character's virtues and flaws, which is what happened here.
All in all, the reason I gave it 4 stars was mainly due to the originality in having an alcoholic hero in a historical romance whilst most heroes are perfectly in control and never have major vices. It made the story have more grit, which is always a welcome change in the usual white-washed saccharine romance world. ...more