Sunday, July 24, 2011

What I Read This Weekend

What I've Read This Week . . .

Country Mouse by Jessie Watson -- Regency Romance

Miss Lavinia Taylor longs for a peaceful country home where her many rescued animals can be content. Now that her uncle is dead and her brother is at Oxford, there's nothing left for her in London. Once she's settled in the countryside, she begins to think there's something missing in her life and perhaps that something is a husband. She wants a true companion who will love her and her animals and value her opinions. Such men are hard to find and even more rare in her small country village so she puts the matter aside and doesn't give it much more thought until she comes across an injured gentleman lying by his upturned carriage in the road. The gentleman, Lord Charles Templeton (apparently a Marquess but his style is given as Lord Templeton) has come to one of his country estates to avoid a scandal brewing in London. His very beautiful and very dangerous (former) mistress was about to be served with a divorce from her less-than-adoring husband if she was found to be with child. Though she is not, Templeton feels the need to escape London for awhile. Lavinia immediately takes the strange gentleman to task for being a poor driver and causing an accident on a bumpy country road. Their meeting goes from bad to worse as they can do nothing but exchange pointed barbs at one another. However, he is an eligible gentleman, albeit one with a shocking reputation so Lavinia concludes she needs to get to know him better. Templeton is angry at Lavinia at first, but soon he is captivated by her witty sense of humor. Meanwhile, the villagers have taken temporary positions at the Park with Lord Templeton and are extremely happy with their positions. They want to stay working for Lord Templeton at the Park. The servants also adore Lavinia and they think they know just how to convince Lord Templeton to stay. However, poor Templeton is continually made to look like a fool in front of Lavinia. Will he ever be able to prove himself worthy of her love? There are many different plot threads in this Regency romantic comedy. The story is told in the third person from the points of view of Lavinia, Templeton, the servants/villagers, Lavinia's bird, her best friends and her brother. There is entirely too much going on in this story and the romance suffers for it. I would have picked the animal rescue plot and made that the focal point of the story OR Lord Templeton's accident-prone nature OR a plot about Lavinia's brother but not all of them. It made the story way too long and confusing. The romance suffers because the author has to speed things up at the end because there was too much going on earlier. The author also includes pointless historical details that don't move the story along. I adore period details and can't get enough except when they aren't relevant to the story. I liked the characters for the most part, especially Lavinia. I admire her dedication and determination to helping animals in need. Templeton is an OK hero. He has his faults, some of them bad and some of them charming. There are too many secondary characters to even comment on. This is an OK novel if you like lighthearted novels with a bit of danger

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