Karla's Reviews > Practice to Deceive
by Patricia Veryan
bookshelves: historical-romance, scotland, eras-18th-century, boring-as-batshite, heroine-spinster, spies, wallpaper-historical, when-the-genre-sucks-it-sucks-hard, wtf-was-this, son-i-am-disappoint, wicked-retarded, dead-tree
Joel: It's more of a quiet kind of funny.
--MST3K, Episode #424: Manos, the Hands of Fate
If you ask me, this was a no kind of funny. I've never read Georgette Heyer, but according to some reviews of Patricia Veryan's books, she's apparently similar to Heyer. In which case, I'm in no rush to get to the couple Heyers that are in my TBR.
Even though the story takes place in the aftermath of Culloden Moor, you wouldn't know it. The hero might be a Jacobite rebel fugitive, but the story isn't about the period and prefers to focus on everything but. It was a dangerous and tense time, but you would never know it from what goes on in Veryan's book. The tone was annoyingly light throughout, and seemed more like a wallpaper Regency in Georgian clothing. About 1/3rd of the way through I started to get high from the wallpaper paste.
The villains, even when they torture the hero, are no more threatening than any given nemesis of The Three Stooges. Much emphasis is placed on propriety (the hero is forced to hide out in the heroine's mansion, the only available room being...hers!) and there are hijinks aplenty from the heroine's maid Daffy, who spends most of her time shrieking "Lawks!" and tossing her apron over her head whenever she's stressed, embarrassed, scared, or giddy. She's also got a bird called Jasper who throws his seed around in every scene he's in, including one where the hero inexplicably dresses up like a pirate the day after he's been shot in the shoulder and tortured to give the heroine a goofy scare. "WTF?" I hear you say, and you would be so right.
As for our pranky, inept spy-hero, Quentin Chandler, no wonder the Jacobites failed. He could screw up a wet dream. The plot went from misstep to bumble to crisis to royal fuckup all across England.
The heroine, Penelope Montgomery, is a plain Jane who has pined for Quentin for five years after meeting at some country estate and has turned away several suitors because they're not like Quentin. I guess it's been too soon since suffering through Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake for me to stomach a heroine with the same hardcore pathetic pining disease, but I will give Penelope an edge over Sarah Maclean's Calpurnia, who has pined for a decade after only an hour's acquaintance with the hero. At least Penelope got to know Quentin over the course of days or weeks lo those five years ago.
This puppy goes for a fortune on the out-of-print market, and it's not worth the price IMO, even if one might be a fan of the old school Regencies with all of their quirks, eccentricities, and "refined" humor.
Unbelievably lame and dull.
"I know it's
too early to tell, BUT....
||12.0%||"The hero-torturing villain and his henchman saying "Tush!" "Humbug!" and "Blast and damn the chit!" kinda throws a damper on their ebilness. Or maybe it's just me...." 6 comments|
"Humor Exhibit A: The heroine's maid, Phyllis AKA "Daffy" calls the disease the "bucolic plague."
"Humor Exhibit B: Heroine uses a ploy to keep a lecher at a distance...
In the second before he claimed her unwilling mouth, Penelope sneezed with all her might, her head coming into sharp but gratifying contact with his front teeth.
He swore and released her, stepping back to clap handkerchief to lips. "By Jupiter--" he began, furious, but muffled.
More in comment..." 4 comments
||36.0%||"I feel like I just read 100 pages of the H/h tiptoeing around the baddies to walk out through the front door."|