What a difference a story makes. My second JAL book and much better than my last experience. Yes there were still typos abound but the overall writingWhat a difference a story makes. My second JAL book and much better than my last experience. Yes there were still typos abound but the overall writing was much tighter and cleaner and a couple that actually grabbed my interest. So there's that. While I enjoyed this there were a few things that definitely could have been better or had me scratching my head.
1. How old were Lyon and Olivia when they first met and fell in love? That unanswered question kind of drove me nuts and I really wish the author included it simply because of the 5 year gap and how much it's stressed that these two grew up and learned and how silly 'naive' and young they were. We get a hazy generalization that Lyon was in his early 20s when he met Olivia...so that makes him roughly what....26? 27? when he returns? For some reason that strikes me as still pretty young, and much younger than he comes across, especially given all the things he's done while away. As a lovesick young man he carried himself and sounded so much older. And yes I know some children grow up faster and are more mature beyond their years, but still. I needed ages. I have no clue how old Olivia was in all this. Is she around the same age as Lyon or younger? When ages aren't given it bugs me, I need something to go off of. And I *sometimes* let it slide but given the heft of this story and the long drawn out reunion, it would have helped and sharpened the edges of the character development.
2. Either Lyon's ship has some serious magical components or Miss Long doesn't know her geography at all. Sailing a ship at full mast from England to Spain in ONE DAY is ludicrous and asking readers to imagine the ship can fly, Hogwarts style. This more or less screamed of the author running out of page time to pace out the h/hr's reunion in a more realistic gradual fashion. Which is a shame. But oh what a fun reunion it was!
3. I am a new reader to this series, meaning I did not read books 1-10, (book 1 was a DNF disaster). But from my guess and some nosing around, these two's story and Lyon's sudden disappearance were milked, teased and dragged out through every book. That's a lot of build up. The fact that the sole reason these two broke up and Lyon left Pennyroyal Green is exactly what rumors and song ballads speculated on just seemed.....underwhelming? Just a little. Olivia Eversea, the 'clever one', the most beautiful and coveted woman of the ton, did in fact break his heart. He did in fact run off and become (view spoiler)[a pirate (hide spoiler)]. I was expecting a little more given the high stress it caused and dramatic tales spun over these two. I just thought there would be more to the story over what separated them. More to Olivia's flinching and wringing hands and refusing to speak 'his' name for 5 years, more to why their story was made into a song for everyone to hear about and whisper about. More to Lyon's many colorful escapades that are illustrated and sold as prints in newspapers. This is just another example of the bigger you build something up, the bigger readers' expectations will be. Not saying I hated it or was invested in something bigger I just found it a little thin. Just a tad.
4. Lyon was not celibate for 5 years. The horror! How dare he sleep with other women while the heartbroken heroine tried to move on with her life by getting engaged to another man. *scratches head* Am I missing something? Because I don't get why this ruffled some feathers considering they BOTH moved on, tried to at least. Liv could move on but Lyon wasn't allowed to? Was he supposed to live like a monk? It's not considered 'cheating' when the 2 parties involved are in fact not together. (This is more an observation than anything to do specifically with the book).
5. That epilogue.
What kind of absurd ridiculous fuckery is that?? I didn't bother reading it but the caption itself said enough. (view spoiler)[No I don't want to know what Pennyroyal Green is like in 2015.
Are you kidding me? You want to set up an opening for your new series, fine. Do it as a sneak preview. But to waste 40 pages of the book and title it as the 'Epilogue' when it has NOTHING to do with the hero/heroine's story is ridiculous. It's also a total disservice to readers who follow this series and expect a 100% payoff and full closure. Don't cram in a silly subplot for an alternate genre to promote new work. I also hate hate hate when authors do flash forwards in Historical's because the beloved characters are freaking dead by then. Don't freaking ruin my happy bubble dammit. It's just so jarring and unnecessary and the hopeless romantic in me just finds it incredibly morbid and sad. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I don't know where to start with this or if I should even bother since there wasn't anything to write home about. But that WTF stunt near the end wasI don't know where to start with this or if I should even bother since there wasn't anything to write home about. But that WTF stunt near the end was crazy absurd and I'm surprised it wasn't even brought up in any other reviews. I'm gonna try to explain this as best I can without sounding long winded but given the convoluted plot, bare with me.
I’m honestly very tempted to give this a 1 star solely because of a secondary character who is so outrageously out of touch, insipid, self-absorbed, colorless and selfish that I wanted to drop kick this book into outer space because of her. I'm talking about the heroine's sister Sophia. She carries the herculean task of finding her sister a husband like a blind bat who won't take 'no' for an answer. And no not because she loves her sister and wants her happy but for the simple fact that their mother told her to and well...what's better than being married to a rich titled gentleman? Screw love! Enter charming rakehell earl, Lord Ralston who oozes charm, and flowery compliments and toothy grins. Of course big sister thinks he's perfect for the heroine Alice, and uses every opportunity to keep the two together including manipulating a situation that keeps the hero Logan and the heroine Alice apart thinking it's 'best' for everyone. If there is an overused obnoxious trope I hate above all? it's the secondary meddlesome character keeping the MC's apart.
The incident that leads to the brief separation between the h/hr is when Alice falls off a horse and loses consciousness for 2 days. She has a difficult time recovering once she wakes up and she can't figure out what's wrong with her. She keeps complaining of a fuzzy head, dizziness and not remembering things weeks after waking up but her sister and doting fiance say it's all in her head and continue to treat her like an invalid. Oh and look she's magically engaged with no memory of it and can't remember shit and the hero is nowhere to be found. See where I'm going here? The hero and heroine pretty much figure out who the culprit is behind Alice's foggy memory lapses once Logan returns but again her sister scoffs at her claims and still insists she's better off with her fiancé. So we are forced to endure 80 pages of the heroine putting up with the obvious tiring villain all because the sister guilts her into giving him another chance cause he's a titled earl and he’s in love!
I mean ok. But then her reaction to it all once she finds out the he was in fact drugging her sister:
"There was no malice intended!" Ralston raised his voice in his own defense. Perhaps, yes, I welcomed the fact that the laudanum made you agreeable. Secretly, I feared that you would turn me down. I only wanted so desperately for you to let me love you, Alice."
"That kind of love is rare to find," Sophia said, obviously touched by the scoundrel's words. "He did it all for love, Alice."
That kind of love? Girl, bye! Lord Ralston was indeed drugging her tea with laudanum for weeks for reasons that made no sense. He wanted to drag out her illness and make her vulnerable and weak so he could propose to her under duress. He claims that he loved her so much and just wanted her to say yes to his proposal but he clearly had a thing for her older sister. Uh....ok. But that doesn't explain the lengths he went to get the heroine to say yes to begin with? You're telling me he would willingly marry a woman he doesn't want in order to be closer to his wife's sister? Dafaq?
Some other things I wasn't crazy about.... There really wasn’t much of a ‘downstairs’ to this saga. The hero Logan Winthrope, is the estate manager who comes from a privileged background but a scandal from his past has him laying low and accepting work as an estate manager at Thornbrook Park. You don’t really see much of the downstairs life, it’s just mentioned in passing by the hero who sometimes dines with the maids and footmen. But other than that he keeps to himself in his cottage and I just...I don’t know, really didn’t get the *feeling* of the high class v.s low class division in this. Or at least that wasn’t the focus at all like the blurb and the title teased at. Everything is just barely touched on and characters and scenes move so fleetingly you don’t really get the sense of the world building around the characters. And if there is one thing that drives me nuts it’s flat world building. The heroine goes from sitting in the drawing room to ‘twirling in the grass’ in the next sentence. Magic I tell you!
I don’t mind flighty eccentric heroines, but I felt like here was another case of the cliched ‘modern historical’ heroine. Every stereotype you can think of for a modern HR heroine was applied here and I just found it forced and dishonest. The heroine Alice, is a 22 year old naive sheltered willful girl who acts and talks like she's twice her age and takes liberties like she has every right to and knows what she’s doing, but she doesn’t. She talks as if she’s this worldly creature but she’s not at all, she hasn't traveled the world, she's never slept with a man, everything is just tra la la fun for her. The author is trying to present her as something she’s not simply because it’s the 1900s and dammit! the heroine should rebel and must rebel in the most typical ways possible. I just found it hilarious how the inexperienced young girl was chasing the older jaded hero around an estate like a fox hunt trying to force his hand into seducing her like it was no big deal. Girl...simmer down.
All the back and forth foot dragging. Was this really necessary? The h/hr confess ILY yet we still have Alice referring to Logan as just her ‘friend’ for a good 100 pages afterwards and Logan anxious and questioning if she will call off her engagement to the slimy earl after she told him straight out she loved him and chooses him. Like...huh? What's with all the dramatic angst and back peddling? It just became so silly and endless regurgitated conversations. And the fact that Logan and Alice pretty much figure out what's causing her memory blackouts and who the culprit is behind it but readers have to sit through 80 pages of her putting up with the villain all to humor her sister was just a total waste of time and mind-numbingly boring. And I really didn’t care for Alice playing the coquette using both guys to make the other jealous and acting like an insulted dingbat when someone questions her vanity or dared to suggest a man wouldn't pick her. RME. Get the hell off it girl and grow up. I found her really ridiculous and self-absorbed at times with some of the things she would say or do.
I honestly was thinking of giving the next book after this a try because I was initially curious about Sophia and her estranged husband Marcus. But given her behavior and cold aloofness in here and (view spoiler)[ being kissed by the besotted confusing villain and actually giving into the kiss after everything he did to her sister? Not ok. (hide spoiler)] I don't think I can overlook that. Like I said her characterization is horrible in here and really hard to empathize with or understand. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more