Miriam's Reviews > The Mischief of the Mistletoe

The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
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's review
Jul 08, 15

liked it
bookshelves: holidays
Recommended for: Regency romance fans
Read from February 06 to 07, 2012

Verdict: even sillier than normal for this series. On the plus side, I did not hate either of the romantic protagonists, as is so often the case. Most of the leads from her other books wandered pointlessly through the story to remind me of how forgettable they were. The only ones I found memorably hateful were Vaughn and Mary, who had even less excuse for their cameo than some of the other characters'. No, actually the character who had the least reason to be in the story was Jane Austen, weakly shoved in there in what seemed like a blatant attempt to get Austenites to pick up this fluff. Don't: she is a minor and poorly depicted aside. Willig implies that she's read Austen's own correspondence but she certainly doesn't get the tone anywhere close.

I did remember Turnip from his stumbles across the scene in previous books. In this book he reminded me of Heyer's Freddy Standish. He seemed more oblivious than idiotic, although I did not buy that he would be unaware of the social stigma attaching to unmarried women being alone with men. And I wasn't a hundred percent sold on the rapport between him and the much smarter and more educated Arabella. But they were sympathetic and rarely annoyed me, which is saying something for a romance.

And this really was a romance. There was not enough spy action to balance it. Willig is always obviously more interested in her romance than her espionage, but in this case that plot was incredibly weak and implausible. All sorts of people stumbling around a girls' boarding school in the night? Messages via Christmas pudding? Come on. And the villain was so unbelievable.

At least I did not have to skim through the unfunny Bridget-Jonesish stumblings of Eloise, our usual flustered and insecure narrator. For whatever reason, the contemporary frame narrative is completely absent! Odd, but as I had quickly gotten tired of Eloise I did not mind. I liked the original concept that she was a graduate student discovering all these spy adventures in the course of her research, but her story quickly became way too chick-lit.

Overall, a quick and disposable read, painless as long as you don't care about authenticity of language and behavior in your historicals.
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Reading Progress

02/06/2012 page 60
18.0% "I see Vaughn and Mary are even more hateful than ever."
02/07/2012 page 170
50.0% ""Red my lips"? Seriously, that's the best Regency dialog you can come up with?"

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Cassy (new)

Cassy I agree about Eloise - a good idea that went downhill. And I only read the first book!

Miriam I would a different sort of author to take that concept and write a book where the frame and interior stories were woven more tightly together. Like, where you actually followed her research and she had to piece together what happened rather than getting huge chunks of lively narrative. Because the stories are totally unconvincing as primary-source-documents-found-in-a-trunk.

message 3: by Cassy (new)

Cassy Amen.

I haven't read it yet, but it seems like Possession will deliver.

message 4: by Emilie (new)

Emilie i like the feel of the cover art, it looks authentic.

message 5: by Miriam (last edited Feb 08, 2012 08:17PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Miriam This series all has covers taken from 19th century paintings. The reissues they've been gradually doing of Heyer did the same, they're really pretty.

message 6: by Emilie (new)

Emilie i really like when they do that, it adds to the fantasy for me, not the fantasy of the romance (which i'm less interested in) but the fantasy of moving into a different time. i don't really like the cover of the one i'm reading right now, but most of the one i've read are really pretty.

message 7: by Miriam (last edited Feb 09, 2012 12:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Miriam Friday's Child? Which cover do you have?

message 8: by Emilie (new)

Emilie the one on the right. which do you have?

Miriam I don't have this book yet. Are you enjoying it otherwise?

message 10: by Emilie (new)

Emilie i like the cover on the left. i'm enjoying it, but so far the female protagonist is submissive and kind of insipid, though sympathetic. she's like a cinderella without spirit. i have the sense that this will change, because there's no where to go with these characters.

Miriam Okay... let me know if it gets better and I'll order it. There are a lot of lukewarm reviews so it wasn't at the top of my Heyer list.

message 12: by Emilie (new)

Emilie my first impression was wrong (or maybe i was just not in a patient or fair mood). she's not insipid. she's sweet and naive, and she is spirited. i'll let you know what i think when i'm finished. my goodreads friends that rated it only gave it 2 stars. i haven't read anything about it. she feels like a different kind of heyer heroine to me, and i'm liking that now. i'm trying to figure out which heyer to order next.

message 13: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Johnson I love Turnip. I have been waiting to get to his book. I do like this series and there are alot of funny parts but the number 5 book was just bad. I mean, it had potential but it just didn't hit the mark for me.

Miriam I think the two featuring the Alsworthy sisters, Letty and Mary, were my least favorite.

I liked Turnip, too. I recommend Heyer's Cotillion if you haven't read it already.

message 15: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Johnson I love Georgette Heyer!!!!! She is awesome.

Miriam I wish more of the authors who wanted to write like her managed to do so ;)

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