Fani *loves angst*'s Reviews > The Trouble With Honor

The Trouble With Honor by Julia London
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2.5 stars

I was very excited to see The Trouble with Honor on NetGalley's list, since Julia London is one of my favorite authors. I've read enough books of hers to know that her heroines are often stubborn and immature, so it did not come as a surprise that Honor fit that description. But usually the hero, the plot and more importantly Mrs London's knack of describing a large part of the story through the hero's POV manage to save the story and turn her books into keepers for me. In this case however, there were too many things that went wrong, and I believe a major one was the plot itself.

The story starts with the heroine, Honor, a favorite of the ton, managing to convince some friends to escort her into an infamous game club and even play a game of cards or two. There she meets George Easton, bastard son of a duke, who's the only one to accept her bet. After that scene, the focus moves to the heroine's house. There are four sisters, Honor being the eldest, followed by Grace and then Prudence and Mercy who haven't come out yet. They're living with their mother's second husband -an earl- and his son, who are both very generous and loving. Unfortunately, the earl is dying and his son plans to marry a woman the heroine's not very fond of. That woman apparently plans to have all of them removed from the earl's house in London and curtail their shopping expenses. But most importantly, the heroine's mother is sick herself, so how will they take care of her without the earl's money? So, the heroine concocts a plan, to have the hero seducing the stepbrother's fiance, so that the wedding won't take place and they can have a reprieve while he finds a new woman to love and marry. The hero reluctantly agrees, even though he points out to the heroine how selfish she's being and that the best solution would be for her to marry (apparently she's very sought after) so that her husband can take care of her mother and sisters, and the story begins.

You can probably see the problems with this book right now. The heroine is indeed as selfish as it gets, since she refuses to sacrifice her freedom for her family, but has absolutely no qualms about destroying the happiness of a stepbrother she cares for. The final nail on the heroine's coffin comes from her arch-nemesis, the stepbrother's fiance. As it becomes apparent in the book, she's not evil at all, but a much more mature, intelligent, wise and kind woman than the heroine could ever hope to be.

They were also many discrepancies in the plot:
-The heroine is the daughter of a bishop. I can't be sure about that, but I believe that in that era it would not be allowed to a married man to become a bishop.
-The mother's condition also appears throughout the book to be the main reason the sisters should stay in the earl's house and continue using his money, but is flimsy at best. As the old earl is still alive, wealthy and in love of his wife, I can't for the life of me understand why he couldn't and wouldn't assign a large enough sum for her and her daughters, to keep them financially independant.
-The heroine, visits an infamous game club, is often provoking and impetuous, dances with a famous rake and bastard in balls, yet her reputation remains impeccable.
-And how on earth, is the stepdaughter of an earl and a nobody -who will obviously turn back into a pumkin after the earl's death- considered one of the ton's finest gems and sought after debutants? Of course twice at least it's pointed out that she wasn't considered good enough to marry above a lord's second or third son, even though her dance card was always full at balls, as she proudly boasts. Yet the hero kept thinking all the time how far above him she was, while she was desperate to go on living such an empty, meaningless life. I do believe most intelligent, mature women would hate to be considered good enough to flirt and dance but not marriage material; apparently Honor's not one of them.

While in most London's books the hero manages to save the day, this didn't happen here. George Easton seemed a good enough man, but his acceptance of Honor's ridiculous scheme left a dark mark on him too. I also missed being inside his head more; I believe with such an immature heroine, that could make a huge difference. And finally, I have to comment on the lack of any chemistry between him and Honor. While they were nice together, both confident and bold characters, I had to read about their mutual attraction rather than feel it. At least it wasn't as hard to believe they cared trully for each other, so this was not yet another case of lust mistaken for love.

However, when all's said and done, I love Mrs London's writing and this was an eye-rolling but engaging story. If you want to read a light historical romance and aren't much interested in details, you could definitely do much worse than picking this up. I look forward to Grace's story when it comes up, as she at least seems to have a head on her shoulders and is not an air-brained beauty.

ARC provided by NetGalley
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Reading Progress

December 9, 2013 – Shelved
January 12, 2014 – Started Reading
January 12, 2014 –
15.0% "Lighthearted and fun so far. Not your usual JL fare, but I needed this after all the angst I've read lately."
January 13, 2014 –
20.0% "Hmm, the heroine seems plenty immature, but JL's heroines often are. What I'm missing here though is more scenes from the hero's POV, which is my favorite thing in London's writing, but I'm not finding it here."
January 15, 2014 –
35.0% "I'm blaming the editor and/or publisher for trying to push writers into incorporating sexier and more 'crude' language in their work, as it seems to be a major part of all best-selling CRs lately. The result is a virgin, innocent, 19th century heroine, fooling around in her sitting room, and listening to 'cocks that like plowing golden valleys' without batting an eyelash."
January 15, 2014 –
45.0% "It's a sad sad thing when the heroine's arch-nemesis is more likeable than the heroine"
January 15, 2014 –
45.0% "I'm getting lost here. The hero calls the heroine "a careless, indiscreet, absurdly brazen young woman" -and he's absolutely right- but she happens to be the toast of the ton. In what universe would that happen I wonder? Certainly not 19th century England as we know it."
January 16, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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message 1: by Chryssa (new) - added it

Chryssa Excellent argumentation and a truly honest review, even when it's about a reader's favourite author!
A true book lover says it how it is!
Respect Fani!

Fani *loves angst* Thanks Chryssa. I wish it was also a bit shorter, but I had to state exactly how much and why the heroine aggravated me:)

message 3: by AgentScully (new)

AgentScully too bad Fani! great review though

Fani *loves angst* Thanks Scully. It's hard when the authors you depend on let you down, so perhaps I was harsher to her than I should because it wasn't a bad book. I guess the heroine was the deal breaker for me here; I see other reviewers didn't hate her as much.

Charlene Thanks for your review. Also, an FYI: Anglican clergy, including bishops, could be married, just not Roman Catholic ones. I also felt the lack in the plot and the characters were not all that likeable, were they?

Fani *loves angst* Thanks Charlene for the info; I admit I tried to google it because I know Orthodox bishops cannot marry, but had no luck:( And indeed I found the plot too silly to be saved, even by Mrs London's talented writing style. Let's hope the next one's better.

message 7: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan What about the most glaring annoyance for me...her name was spelled Honor, the American way. This is supposed to be Regency England, the least the author could do was spell her name right as Honour.

Charlene I agree with you, Susan. When I lived in England for five years, more than one person asked me what Americans had against the letter "u." My retort is not pertinent to this discussion!

message 9: by Susan (last edited May 10, 2014 12:10AM) (new) - added it

Susan Charlene, I like to just be pert and respond to queries like that asking the Brits why they are so slavish to maintaining the French influences on their language (oh they hate the French). "-our" and "-re" at the end of words like theatre and centre all derive from the French spelling where it makes sense for the proper pronunciation.

Fani *loves angst* Susan wrote: "What about the most glaring annoyance for me...her name was spelled Honor, the American way. This is supposed to be Regency England, the least the author could do was spell her name right as Honour."

You're absolutely right Susan! I wonder why all those professional editors are paid for...

Charlene Speaking of French influence, here's one that absolutely stupefies me: the Brits call eyelet embroidery "broderie anglaise," which means in French, "English embroidery."

Fani *loves angst* Charlene wrote: "Speaking of French influence, here's one that absolutely stupefies me: the Brits call eyelet embroidery "broderie anglaise," which means in French, "English embroidery.""

I can only guess because it sounds more glamorous and sophisticated that way?

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