Book reviews and random ramblings about literary and historical matters.
Monday, August 22, 2011
What I Read This Weekend
What I Read This Weekend . . .
The Mischievous Spinster by Marian Lorraine -- Regency Romantic comedy
Miss Antonia Radcliffe is 29 and a spinster. She is not, however, a confirmed spinster and is open to the idea of marrying for love. Her younger sister Julia has found her love at the advanced age of 23. Julia's betrothed to Lord Colin Neville invites the sister's to visit his home and meet his family. Colin expects his mother to make a scene but he hopes for support from his older half-brother, the Duke of Sayer. Unfortunately for Colin, Derek opposes the match. He has made plans with his friend, the Earl of Atlee, for Colin to marry Atlee's sixteen-year-old daughter Emily. Colin stands his ground and with help from the mischievous Tonia, he plots to change his brother's mind. The schemers are in for another surprise when Atlee and Emily arrive, for Atlee is Tonia's most persistent suitor. Add to that an amorous neighbor, a social climbing widow and plotting mother, the story has all the makings of a farce. However, it doesn't quite get there. Most of the story surrounds convincing everyone that Julia and Colin are meant for each other with Tonia's relationship taking a backseat. When she finally gets to be the heroine, the plot is rushed and summarized. It is funny in spots and I liked the characters a lot. The primary characters are not stereotypes and I admired most of them. Derek's temper gets out of hand and he behaves in a very unpleasant manner which Tonia easily accepts. The supporting characters are typical stock characters for the lighthearted Regency plot. Some of them never really emerge as fully fleshed characters. I liked this story a lot though. It is one of the better Georgette Heyer copycats.
too good to be true by Kristan Higgins - Contemporary adult romantic fiction
Grace Emerson's ex-fiance is now dating her little sister. In order to spare her sister guilt and to keep her family off her back, Grace has invented the perfect boyfriend: he's a pediatric surgeon, kind, romantic and wrangles feral cats. Grace struggles to keep her family from wanting to meet her boyfriend as she tries to get over Andrew and tries Internet dating. One night after drinking a few gin & tonics, Grace sees a strange man prowling around next door. She calls 911 but before the cops arrive, the mysterious man shows up on her doorstep and she hits him in the face with a field hockey stick while her faithful Westie Angus bites the man. The man turns out to be her new neighbor, Callahan O'Shea, an ex-con. Cal served 18 months in prison for embezzling over 1 million dollars. Frequent encounters with Cal make Grace's girly bits all tingly though she knows she should stay away from men like Cal and focus more on men of her own background. The problem is, most of the men she knows are already married, gay or playing dead during Civil War reenactments. In between dealing with her older sister's bitterness over the breakup of her marriage, trying to find the perfect man for herself and one for her gay best friend, dealing with her sister's wedding plans and flirting with Cal she learns to get over Andrew. Will Grace have the courage to follow her heart instead of her head? This book is almost a carbon copy of all i ever wanted. Just like Callie, Grace has an eccentric, loving family and a sleazy ex who consume most of her thoughts when she's not lusting over the wrong man. There's very little chemistry between the hero and heroine and I failed to see why he was interested in her. I really wanted to like Grace because professionally, she is very admirable. Plus, I am also a history buff and a Civil War fanatic. I could not admire the way Grace dealt with her personal life. She let everyone else walk all over her and ignored her own advice to Stuart, following the example of her favorite heroine. (Let the records show that I can't stand that particular heroine either). I personally feel that Angus is the only man Grace needs and if my terrier hated a man, I wouldn't allow him anywhere near me or my terrier. Angus is funny and sometimes he's so true to Westie behavior but on the other hand he gives Westies a bad name. They are mostly all bark and no bite and a stranger coming to their home means first alert alert danger danger and then en enthusiastic greeting of kisses and belly rubs not growling and biting. /steps off soapbox/ This book is a nice, light read but it lacks originality and believability.