I don't know what happened but this was a far faaar cry from A Dangerous Beauty. I read that 3 years ago so maybe my tastes have changed or Sophia Nas...moreI don't know what happened but this was a far faaar cry from A Dangerous Beauty. I read that 3 years ago so maybe my tastes have changed or Sophia Nash did a major overhaul in her writing.
Since the characters had an obsession with listing everything in this story I'll write my review in the same format.
1. There was absolutely ZERO chemistry between our hero Rory and heroine Verity, one with the atrocious name, even uglier hats--her eccentric quirk?--and an absolute hate for green peas (something the author made sure we never forgot). These two have known each other for years and Verity has secretly 'loved' Rory from afar since her girlhood and he pretty much ignored her until one drunken night of debauchery he ends up in bed with her. There was zero build up and aside from being friends all flowery words Rory poured on her came off so forced and not genuine. I did not get the lovers, soulmates etc.. vibe from them at all. I had the hardest time believing he fell in love with her since the sexual tension and connection was severely lacking. I felt nothing from these two are than a friendship. And please dear authors: Can we stop with the ‘she knew he could never love her as deeply as she loved him’ bit. I’m sick of it. It’s a tired excuse I have never been a fan of. How do you know the man you love could never love you back when you never gave him a chance to begin with? It’s selling him short.
2. For a sensible practical heroine, Verity was a martyr of the highest order. The whole silly nonsense surrounding her missing diaries and willing to leave her life behind to 'save' her loved ones I found utterly ridiculous and so melodramatic. She blames herself for everything under the sun, her mother's death, falling in love with a scheming seducer, putting Rory and her family's reputation in danger etc. etc...She is literally convinced the printed excerpts from her stolen diaries would cause an upheaval and a revolution--yes a revolution-- because her brother's gang of friends happen to be the Prince Regent's 'royal entourage' and her nattering diary entries spying on their drunken revelry will somehow cause riots. -__- Give me a break. I just found the whole thing overblown and histrionic. And I'm still scratching my head trying to understand exactly who the culprit is who sneaked into the Prince's house and stole her diaries. The explanation/reveal of who the Diary bandit was was so incredibly confusing and poorly handled in the end. Nash tried to be coy and build it up for dramatic effect with the 'who dunnit' mysterious angle but the scene where Verity 'discovers' the truth made absolutely no sense. That last chapter was one big muddled confusing mess.
3. There were countless plot holes in this, the size of craters. The conveniently missing diaries (this was one of many excuses why Verity could never marry Rory) are used as a source of tension for the couple throughout the book with a whole bunch of misleading secretes and guilt being passed back and forth between the two. It made my head spin. I honestly felt the author teased a handful of false 'secretes' that were never explained or revealed just to create more manufactured angst between the two. It just made for a shallow read IMO. For one, I'm still trying to figure out what the hell the panic over finding Verity's stolen diaries had anything to do with her abigail Miss Amelia Primrose? Verity kept mentioning and fretting over an affair coming out and Amelia's situation being dire and her reputation on the line if the diaries weren't found (Amelia is a lady's companion and former governess I didn't think her reputation was in such peril). Nothing came of it of course. It was a thin plot device used just to have Rory chase Verity around the country while she was on her 'important errand' saving her friend. Another secrete that was half approached was Verity's past with a gentleman who took her innocence, she admitted to not telling Rory the full truth about what happened. Well??... What was the rest of it? The author never revealed that and left readers hanging. And third, there was a clear indication that Rory and Prinny shared some kind of past besides the war, the Prince clearly is in debt to Rory that much was a alluded to more than once. But the back story to that was left untold and I felt it was used to make the hero come off more darker and mysterious. I just found it contrived. Also the plot and pacing of this story was very sloppy, the scene breaks & POV shifts were so disjointed and lacked continuity. One minute you have Rory and Verity having a conversation and the next chapter you have Verity running away in near tears which didn't make sense. I got whiplash with the abrupt changes.
4. The story suffered big time because of the painfully distracting purple prose and is a big part of why I gave it a low rating. I thought Nash’s choice of phrasing things to be very odd and superfluous which made for clumsy dialogue.
“For the life of him he couldn’t remember any of the events leading to this splendidly awful state of postinebriation, but he knew the only recourse was to remain like a petrified oak until his former military batman, now valet, made an appearance, carrying a crystal snifter filled with the hair of the mongrel that had bitten his arse to the bone last eve.”
“There were a few times in Verity’s life in which she would have liked to disappear into thin air. Usually those periods had been while her ear had been pressed against an abominably thick door, behind which her brother and his friends communed on the altar of bachelorhood. This was one of those times that thin air appeared very breathable.”
And just plain confusing:
“Cheever bowed and left one hell of a lot more amused than he had ever been in service to the last duke.”
“A marriage with him, and a future filled with myriad similar moments, was one of the minor reasons she would never agree to this proposed match made in a spinsterish ape leader’s hell.”
And phrases like 'shock and surprise paid a call,' 'she took her decision in a rush' and 'wading into this quagmire' were cringe worthy at best. It just didn’t read right and I got the feeling Nash tried in vain to insert big clunky words to make her characters come off sophisticated and charming. It wasn’t necessary and it didn’t work here. It just made for some purple prose as some like to call it. Nash also had the annoying tendency of having her characters use redundant phrases like 'by the by' and using French phrases that I had no idea what they meant. And the endless ‘1, 2, 3, and 4’ lists the characters kept making became very redundant and read confusing.
And5. I find the whole premise/theme behind this series obnoxious and shallow. The ‘royal hangover’ bit used in every book as a plot device (and tagline) makes the heroes sound like jackasses. Sorry I just don’t find it attractive when a group of guys are shackled with ladies they don’t want all because they spent one night getting hammered/piss drunk and end up paying the consequences. And to top it off Prinny wants to make sure each Duke is married off. It just comes across juvenile rather than funny. Especially when it’s the driving force behind every book in this series. I'm not sure if every book starts off following the same night or separate events but even so... Do these guys make a habit of going on drinking binges to the point they don't remember shit and the whole town knows about it? And all because they happen to be the Prince Regent’s entourage. Seriously?? How...charming. -__- Sorry it just comes off pretentious. (less)