Monday, July 5, 2010

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

A Debt to Delia by Barbara Metzger -- Regency Romance
Lying wounded on the battlefield, Major Lord Tyverne is certain that his life is over, until a dashing young soldier on a large, white horse rescues Ty from certain death. After fighting for his life on the battlefield, Ty then has to fight to keep his wounded arm and the subsequent infection from poor medical treatment. When he recovers, he is shocked to learn the the young soldier who saved his life was killed in battle. Ty promised the young man he'd return the favor and save someone else's life, but he isn't quite sure how to go about doing that until he reads the young man's private correspondence. Known as Lieutenant George Croft on the battlefield, he was a young baronet with a sister who is obviously in trouble (or, Ty believes, In Trouble). Ty takes it upon himself to inherit the young Lieutenant's family problems, in addition to inheriting the angry tempered horse that saved his life. After a long, and difficult ride, Ty arrives at Faircroft and proposes marriage to George's sister, Delia. Believing that Ty is a drunken stranger, Celia angrily refuses his proposal, until she realizes that the man is dangerously ill. Celia brings Ty into her home to care for, along with other other dependents. When she learns Ty's reason for coming, she refuses his marriage proposal. She will marry for love or not at all, even though she's desperate for a way to support herself and her dependents. She also faces a threat from her cousin, who has inherited George's title and lands. Cousin Clarence wishes to marry Delia off to an old reprobate so he can be rid of her and claim his inheritance. Delia stands her ground and is determined to not give in. As he gets to know Delia, Ty realizes what a confident and intelligent woman she is, though she persists in thinking he's an arrogant idiot. After some misunderstandings about the nature of Delia's trouble and her reasons for demanding her brother return home immediately, Ty is faced with a dilemma: whether to do the right thing or turn his back on the people who have been kind to him. The decision isn't easy and it helps him better understand his own feelings and make plans for not only his future, but Delia's as well. He also tries to sort out his wayward younger brother and wrestles with his feelings towards his overbearing father while Delia worries about her future and the futures of those she loves. The two must overcome numerous issues, including stubbornness and pride to learn where their hearts lie. This book is a departure from Metzger's light, comedy of manners plots; it's more somber and serious in tone, though there are moments where her flair for humor show through. I found the story a little too long and complicated to really interest me. It starts off really slow and doesn't pick up until about the halfway point and even then, it continues on at a slower pace than her other novels. Delia is a very modern heroine and very sensible. She can cope with anything that comes her way and keeps her head in a crisis. I greatly admire Delia and I would hope that I would have the courage she did faced with such difficulties. Ty is a little bland for a hero. He's almost too good. He's handsome, wealthy and honorable, all excellent qualities for a flesh and blood person, but make for a lackluster plot. Ty and Delia also lacked the chemistry that makes Lizzie and Darcy so memorable. It seems like Metzger wanted to try something different but didn't quite know how to make it work. If you're not a fan of drawing room comedies than you might want to try this one, for it wasn't bad, despite my feelings.

A Regency Christmas IX by Sandra Heath, Carla Kelly, Edith Layton, Amanda McCabe, Barbara Metzger -- Regency Romance
This book of holiday themed tales by well-known Regency authors offers five novellas in one volume. In Layton's "The Amiable Miser," a young lady enjoys her work in her thrifty cousin's bookshop but dreams of romance. When a regular customer sends her nephews to choose a new book for her, Joy's whole world changes. "A Home for Hannah" by Barbara Metzger is another departure from her typical light hearted style. Young Hannah has been raised in a "school" for girls for all of her six years and is about to be turned out onto the streets for not paying her bill. Gregory Bellington, Viscount Byson, is about to propose to an heiress in order to save the family home when Hannah appears in his life and turns his world upside down and leads him to the greatest happiness he has ever known. In "Partridge in a Pear Tree," the eccentric Harriet, Lady Kirkwood comes up with a clever idea to decide who gets her personal fortune : the money will go to whichever of her relatives comes up with the most original way of locating the first seven of the items from the old song "12 Days of Christmas." With a little help from each other, Aunt Harriet and the kindness of strangers, two down-on-their-luck cousins find more happiness than they had ever dreamed was possible. "The Solid Silver Chess Set" features an elf needing to redeem his reputation and two young lovers made miserable through misunderstandings. The three main characters find they can help each other get what they most desire. Lastly, in "No Room at the Inn," a young lady discovers that she's not an Earl's daughter and must travel to a farm to live with the grandmother she never met. A snow storm forces her traveling party to stop at the home of her former crush. The guests and the host help each other heal from old wounds and find love and happiness again. All of these stories are what one could consider heartwarming, given the time of year they are set. I found them to be too sentimental and corny for my tastes. The length precludes the authors from fully developing their characters and creating realistic plots. My favorite is "Partridge in a Pear Tree." It's clever and funny and realistic. My least favorite is "The Solid Silver Chess Set." The story would be a lot better without the elf, but even so I found the behavior of the heroine unrealistic. If you like heartwarming tales, especially Christmas ones, then I would recommend reading this volume.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave comments and or suggestions for QNPoohBear, the modern bluestocking.