Friday, November 30, 2012

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

A Worthy Wife by Barbara Metzger -- Regency Romance

Miss Aurora Halle McPhee is a Bath miss of no importance. She's thrilled that the dashing, handsome Lieutenant Harland Podell has chosen to marry her. All Aurora's dreams seem to be coming soon but then the marriage is interrupted by someone who knows a secret about the groom. Kenyon Warriner, the Earl of Windham has just cause to prevent the wedding. Lieut. Podell is already married to Kenyon's sister! It seems Podell is a scoundrel who has left a trail of wives and broken hearts and taken fortunes. Kenyon assumes Aurora has been compromised and steps in to marry her himself. On their wedding night, he discovers just what he's gotten himself into. Aurora is an innocent young maiden with no interest in being married to him, so it seems. Aurora is nervous around the extremely attractive Earl. Can she ever live up to his expectations of her? The newlyweds settle in London to unravel the mystery of Aurora's birth and the reasons why Podell wished to marry her. Lady Anstruther-Jones is the source of gossip for the East India Company and her gossip comes with the most unusual of gifts. When Kenyon has to leave to rescue his brother from a French prison, he sends Aurora to his estate to deal with his moody sister and eccentric aunt. It's not easy for Aurora to take charge but she manages to do so amid a difficult situation. She makes some changes that result in a growing entourage of unusual companions. She can't wait for her husband to return home so they can pick up their married life right where they left off on their wedding night. In my opinion, this is not one of Ms. Metzger's best stories. I really liked the animals and the crazy secondary characters. They provided a lot of laugh out loud moments. The mystery plot hooked me and I couldn't put the book down until I discovered the truth. I pretty much guessed along the right lines but it was still a surprise. The marriage of convenience plot did not interest me at all. They're all the same! I kept groaning because Aurora and Kenyon didn't share their real feelings or talk to each other. I also didn't like the main characters. Aurora is so young and innocent in the beginning of the story that I couldn't stand her, but as the story goes on, she grows up a lot and I found myself cheering for her and really liking her. That caused a problem because I did not like Kenyon. He's lusty and has a hot temper. I can not forgive him for seducing his innocent bride on their wedding night. He went too far, in my opinion. Then he refused to trust her or believe in her. In my opinion, Aurora deserved better. This story is more sensual than her earlier novels and the animals don't play a starring role but are more in the background to cause havoc and complicate the plot more. If you like marriage of convenience plots and Georgette Heyer's comedies, then you might like this one too. For me, it wasn't good enough.

Wickham's Diary by Amanda Grange -- Austenesque

In this novella, the reader is given a glimpse into the world of George Wickham, the villain of Pride and Prejudice. Born to a father content to be a steward and a beautiful, spoiled mother, George is brought up to appreciate the finer things in life. His mother teaches him to be courteous to everyone he meets because you never know who will do you a favor. She encourages him to curry favor with old Mr. Darcy to get a Living (he'll have a fine house) or to marry an heiress (he has his sight set on Lady Anne de Bourgh). Then while George is at Cambridge, his beloved mother dies, he falls in with a bad crowd and the rest as they say, is history. The story concludes with his failed attempt to seduce Georgiana. The ending of the book came as a surprise since I was expecting more to the story. I was hoping for P&P from his point of view, painting himself as a tragic victim rather than a villain, but instead this story is a prequel. It doesn't reveal a whole lot about his life except that his mother resembled Lydia Bennet and he was always jealous of Fitzwilliam. The best moments were the interactions between the two boys and seeing how Fitzwilliam grew into the hero we all know and love. I'm not a huge fan of Grange's "telling" style of writing which combined with the lack of plot made this story doubly disappointing. It's a good one to get free from the library

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