Viohlet's Reviews > Secrets of an Accidental Duchess

Secrets of an Accidental Duchess by Jennifer Haymore
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Feb 24, 14

bookshelves: hero-duke, read-in-2012, 14-netgalley-arc-etc, hero-marquess-marquis, 3rd-person-pov, annoying-irritating-please-end, barbie-heroine, bets-wagers, betrayal, fast-paced, genre-historical, hard-to-follow, hero-3-m-r, hero-bad-boy, hero-indifferent, hero-orphan, hero-rogue-rake-scoundrel-etc, hero-shitty-past, heroine-3-m-r, heroine-5-blonde, heroine-indifferent, heroine-infuriating, heroine-just-plain-pathetic, heroine-sick-or-dying, heroine-orphan, heroine-virgin, heroine-wallflower-spinster, heroine-willowy-tall-awkward-etc, historical-1800s, i-think-i-am-dying, inane-shit-just-for-the-sake-of-it, kidnapping-abduction, making-assumptions, my-life-has-been-turned-upside-down, mystery-suspense-etc, no-character-growth-development, no-scene-setting, no-transitions, no-history-or-backstory, not-making-much-sense, one-sided-hatred-or-hostility, ott-just-plain-ridiculous, over-the-top-or-annoying-plot-twist, overbearing-interferring-family-fri, series, read-5-indifferent-on-the-fence, read-dont-remember-much, secondary-characters-interferring, series-follows-family, set-in-english-country, slow-to-start, some-real-sick-people-out-there, so-melodramatic, so-convoluted, sounds-better-than-it-actually-is, stars-3, started-good-but-lost-momentum, whatever, held-captive
Read on January 07, 2012

** spoiler alert ** As soon as I started reviewing this title I revised my rating for it. It started off with 4 stars, but when I was shelving it, I realized that I barely remembered it, so it can't have been THAT good, so it's down to three stars.

First of all, this was slower than a wet week. It felt never ending and as if nothing was happening, (at least for the first half). By the time I'd reached page 81 I felt like I'd been reading for so long I could have read it twice over.

There was also a lot of backstory left out with the Serena/Meg thing, and why everyone though Serena was Meg. I read reviews of the first book in the series, because this wasn't explained in "Secrets" until at least halfway through. Not good for new readers who didn't know about a first book, or had no interest in reading it.

This novel was big on the heroine, Olivia's, choosing to live her life as the "virgin aunt", but once the hero, Max was introduced, all her sisters started pounding on her about how she should take a lover at least once blah blah blah. Let me tell you, I am so fucking sick of "I know I will/want to die a spinster, but I don't want to die a virgin so I just want this 'one time'". It's so overused and boring. When it popped up in this novel I just wanted to *facepalm*.

I'm just realizing that I made very few notes about the characters, (actually, none), and because I barely remember the novel I can't really comment on them except to say that the heroine's sisters were beyond irritating.

My biggest issue with this was the writing. It started off good, however towards the end there were a few things that I felt were important that were never explained, and the whole way through it was melodramatic.

Not just melodramatic, but completely over the top and ridiculous. So many BIG events that most authors would only use one of were thrown into this novel making me feel like I was reading a proposed script for The Bold and The Beautiful, or Days of Our Lives or The Young and The Restless or something.

First up, the wager. From the blurb on the back cover of the book, you would assume that the wager plays a big part in the novel. You'd be wrong. After the wager is made, it's mentioned once, (reflectively), and then never brought up again until the end where the author needs her Big Misunderstanding, which is obviously the only reason for the wager in the first place.

I think I've mentioned before that I detest Big Misunderstandings. Not only are they ridiculously overused, they are just plain irritating and unnecessary.

Keeping score? Melodramatic Plot points: 1

We also have an antagonist who's your standard (read: flat) psychotic antagonist. He's evil simply because he can be. He's selfish and arrogant and treats people like shit because he feels it's his god-given right. He's a thief because he's a pathetic gambler, but continues to do it anyway so he owes everyone and his dog money. Oh, and he's also a kidnapper and wife beater! Quite frankly, I don't think we needed the chapters from his point of view. All it did was reinforce the fact that he was a flat, psycho-because-he-can-be character.

Also, the antagonist is supposed to be a rival for the heroine's attentions, and this felt forced and was patently unbelievable anyway.

Melodramatic Plot points: 2

Next we have kidnappings! Yes! Plural!

In this order we have:

Kidnapping of hero.
Kidnapping of heroine.
Kidnapping of hero or heroine's loved ones.

See, normally you would pick one, not all three!

Melodramatic plot points: 5

Towards the end, the heroine experiences her worst bout of illness since originally contracting malaria as a child. This near death experience on it's own is enough to create conflict in a novel, but hey, let's have this thrown in too!

Melodramatic plot points: 6

The hero's uncle dies! Ok, so he was a right, royal bastard and he and the hero hated each other, but still! He dies around halfway through and his death seems to happen simply to get the hero away from the heroine so doubts can be sown. The uncle should have died before the novel even began.

Melodramatic plot points: 7

A miscarriage! The heroine's pregnant sister miscarries her baby more than halfway through. It's terrible yes, but I felt that with all the other melodramatic crap crammed into this novel, that it was just pointless.

Melodramatic plot points: 8

See how much happened for one tiny little novel? It seems as if the author relied on Big Events to keep the readers interested instead of interaction between characters and environments.

There was also a side story going on between Jessica, the sister of the heroine and the abused wife of the antagonist. (Oh did I forget to mention that the heroine's sister and the antagonist are neighbours?) I felt that this side story took up too much. I don't care about Jessica, I care about the hero and heroine of THIS story. It would have been less painful if the Jessica side-story was going on in the background and the reader didn't know every single step of her plan.

Also, Jessica and the abused wife are the "Loved Ones Who Get Kidnapped". One thing here that really bothered me is that while the antagonist was in London (dying I might add, from an overdose of the heroine's malaria medication that she gave him when he kidnapped her), Jessica and the abused wife were sent away to a distant country property without anyone's knowledge but somehow the antagonist finds and kidnaps them. Maybe the author just forgot about it, but there is absolutely no explanation of how the antagonist even knew where to start looking for them, let alone how he got them.

In the end, this was, as I've said many times now, ridiculously over the top. It was irritating that all this shit kept happening (and most of it in the second half of the book!)

By the time I finished reading I was more exasperated than anything, and I can't honestly say I enjoyed this book. It receives a 3 star rating based on the fact that in the beginning, before it developed into a melodrama, it was pretty well written. But that obviously didn't last long.

I wouldn't recommend this novel, and I must say that I don't think much of anything could entice me to read another novel by this author.
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