Fangirl Musings's Reviews > The Duchess Diaries

The Duchess Diaries by Jillian Hunter
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Pages Survived: 166

This book was an epic fail. Despite the beautiful book cover, which is the book's only good aspect, this novel fell flat on its face. The novel's lacking of everything was entirely frustrating because the premise of the book had so much in its favor.

One of the first oh-dear-God-no aspects that stood out to me early on in The Duchess Diaries was the dialogue. While it's true I'm certainly no expert in Regency vernacular, there were many phrases, words, and sentence structures that felt as though they were cherry picked from a contemporary era. This is a BIG TIME no-no for me. If a writer is going to take the energy and time to create a story set in a time not of the modern decade, then they should absolutely make the language sound genuine.

Additionally, along the same lines as dialogue came the setting, or lack thereof. While I'm not a big fan of overly monotonous description, when reading a historical I do, indeed, expect some sort of detail in regards to the locale and fashion. This pretty important aspect was almost completely absent in the 166 pages I read. Again, if a writer is going to take the interest in creating a story, most especially in a historical, it is necessary they give authenticity and visualization for the reader.

Moving along to other, even more infuriating fails of this book isn't all that difficult. Next, frustratingly, comes the fact that the plot was a complete shambles. While it's true that said story line was thin and faulty, there were bigger issues that did more to damage the book's events than just a lackluster plot framing. In The Duchess Diaries, Hunter was terribly bad at keeping her book events from spazzing all over the place. In the initial pages of the book, the story drug on painfully, and seemed to have almost zero plot line movement. Then, without warning, sixty six million things were happening, all distractedly hashed out with no time for development or exploration in any single event.

The plot of this novel had so much possibility that, when I noted where Hunter was taking the story, I almost couldn't fathom its reality. There were many instances that character development and tension could be built in wonderfully complex ways, utilizing plot points that went totally unexplored. I realize Hunter wished to use Charlotte's diary as a way of creating an external conflict plot, but if the opposite had been accomplished, using Gideon's acquisition of the item, and further exploration of that realm, I feel the book might have held more fascination for the reader.

I am not automatically apposed to external conflicts, but when one is seemingly piled upon another, and no clear, interesting path is established for the reader, I grow irritated quite quickly. Pairing this negative aspect with the fact that Charlotte felt intolerably too much like a perpetual milksop, and Gideon was a character comprised of nothingness, with absolutely no individualism to speak of, made me want to chuck this book against the nearest wall. If the disappointing primary protagonists weren't enough, the hella-huge excessive secondary cast of characters were certainly more than anger-sparking.

Often, I typically enjoy a large cast within a novel, and secondary characters will allow a sometimes-needed break from the two leads. Being a devotee to the author Sherrilyn Kenyon, I'm well accustomed to following huge worlds with an even larger list of a second and third cast. And, yet, Jillian Hunter made my brain want to liquefy with this very failed cast! There was some Jane girl, and some detective, an evil mistress, some douche Phillip, some rival school matron, a Harriet chick, a Bordello madam, some cousin named Grayson, two or three brothers to the heroine, another evil thief dude, and apparently a friend called Chloe?...At some point in the reading, I literally lost track, and interest, who was who, and why they were important. The problem, I think, wasn't so much the number of secondary characters, but the fact that the author's writing style never gave me much time to accept, and learn, their identity and role within the book.

Writing style, oh for the love of Zeus' beard. Yes, here, indeed, lies the last problem I had with this Epic Fail book; chapter length. Jillian Hunter must love short chapters, so much so that I think there exist more page-and-a-half clips in this book than there consists of readable chapters. Overall, this problem most likely explains all the aforementioned shortcomings of this book. When an author barely glances over a scene, most especially with non-hero/heroine characters, then as a reader, I have no time to learn the characters, or the story.

So, in conclusion? This book sucked. Its suckage was likewise monumental, and wall-bangingly bad.
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Reading Progress

12/01/2012 page 140
39.0% "The dialogue is too modern, the plot is progressing without buildup, there are missed opportunities for hero development, and the only reason I'm continuing is because I'm compelled by Charlotte."

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