Saturday, December 8, 2012

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Lady Georgiana Mystery) -- Historical Mystery

Poor Georgie is stuck in snowy Scotland after the birth of Fig and Binky's second child. Now it's Christmas and Fig's awful family is coming and they all want Georgie out of the house and married off to some terrible prince or ANYbody. Georgie's heart belongs to the enigmatic Darcy O'Meara but they can never marry, even if he does manage to earn a respectable living, for Darcy is Catholic and Georgie is in line for the throne. Even Georgie's other family has happy plans for the holidays: Mum is going off to some quaint Devonshire village called Tiddleton-Under-Lovey with Noel Coward and Granddad and Mrs. Huggins to serve as help. Glumly, Georgie resigns herself to a dreary Christmas in Scotland. Then a casual glance at a lady's magazine reveals the solution: a Lady Hawes-Gorsley wants a society hostess to help at a holiday party in Tiddleton-Under-Lovey. Georgie jumps at the chance. She looks forward to a traditional English country Christmas, especially once Darcy shows up and their relationship intensifies. She refuses to allow a freak accident that killed a neighbor scare her. That is, until more people end up dead - one a day during the 12 Days of Christmas. The local police don't have a clue but suspect some escaped convicts from Dartmoor. Georgie enlists the aid of Granddad to help her spot clues, but it's not going well. Will the entire village end up dead before Christmas is over? This is the very best book in the entire series. The mystery is completely unsolvable until the motive is finally revealed. I did guess at the villain, which was obvious, but Georgiana was really very clever to figure out the clues and find out the motive. I wanted to read straight through until the end to find out whodunnit but I found a good stopping point and reluctantly went to sleep. I adored the quirky English village complete with a mad woman and "village idiot". It reminded me a lot of Cranford and Emma and was perfectly English. The party guests are hilarious and really illustrate the difference between American "new money" and British aristocracy. The 12 days of Christmas customs were straight out of Dickens and the author provides recipes and parlor games in the back of the book. I love social history and Charles Dickens so I really enjoyed that aspect of the story, plus it provided a lot of comic relief. There's also the perfect amount of romance in this book. Georgie and Darcy's relationship progresses (thank goodness!) and there's some resolution there. I hope this is the last book in the series because I like a good promise of a happily ever after even if there isn't a true resolution. I think that if the series continues, the relationship will turn into another annoying star-crossed lovers plot to be dragged out indefinitely. The author has an e-novella available. Thankfully, it's a prequel and not a sequel though I'd still like to read it.


Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell -- Adult Contemporary Fiction (Women's Fiction)

After her boyfriend moves out, Tilly Cole can't afford to stay in her London apartment, so at the urging of her best friend Erin, she moves to a small town to take a job as a "Girl Friday" to single dad Max Dineen. Her duties aren't hard: she helps Max care for his teenage daughter Lou, works with Max in his fabulous interior design business and do a bit of cooking. She also has to avoid the town's most eligible bachelor, Jack Lucas. The ladies are crazy for Jack and he has a reputation as a ladies' man. Jack is commitment phobic and Tilly is not about to get hurt by him, no way, no how. Jack, on the other hand, is intrigued by Tilly and the more she tries to ignore him, the more he's interested in her and the chemistry between them heats up. Can they learn to trust each other and trust their hearts? Meanwhile, Tilly's best friend Erin has finally found love after sacrificing everything to care for her dying mother. The only obstacle to Erin's happiness is Fergus' estranged wife, Stella, a type-A, selfish witch. Stella wants Fergus back and she'll stop at nothing to achieve her goal. Another plot follows Max's ex-wife Kaye, a huge soap opera star in LA who accidentally finds herself in the middle of a scandal. Retreat to England is her only hope for salvation. She's eager to be with her daughter again but with the move goes her career and her chance at happiness, maybe. This story is a typical "chick lit" novel along the lines of Helen Fielding, Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot and others. The characters in this story have more depth to them which is a welcome surprise. The addition of character backstories really gives the novel more substance and keeps it from being too too fluffy. I had a hard time following all the characters' plot lines at first and I think it would have been better streamlined into Tilly's story. Tilly is a likeable enough heroine. She's independent, seems intelligent and easy going. Towards the end her character turns rather annoying and I wanted to yell at her for being so stupid, but then as the reader, I had information she didn't. I love Jack. Since some of the story is from his point-of-view, the reader gets to know him a bit more than Tilly does at first. He's charming and roguish but kind. I loved the Dineens. They are very funny and such a loving family. Lou is a remarkable and unrealistically adjusted teenager with two caring parents she loves very much. Erin and Fergus are my least favorite characters. Erin is too self-sacrificing and Fergus is a bit of a pushover where Stella is concerned and he's rather dull. Stella surprised me the most. Her story takes a very unexpected turn that made me see her in a different light. The plot is pretty predictable for the most part, with a few twists and turns to keep the story from being too formulaic. The romances are sweet and they're also clean. The characters indulge in adult relationships but the bedroom door is always closed. I enjoyed this story a lot and I plan to read more of this author.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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