Friday, June 14, 2013

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

An Icy Affair by Mona Gedney -- Regency Romance

Ivy Sterling is bored to death living in seclusion with her uncle who barely acknowledges her existence. Since her governess left, Ivy's only companion is her Scottie, MacTavish. Ivy demands a London Season and when her uncle refuses to comply, she has a tantrum and runs off into a swirling snow storm. When Ivy is nearly run over by a gentleman's horse, the autocratic man demands to be led to shelter. Who is he to be bossing Ivy around? Then as the storm progresses, more visitors arrive and Ivy seizes the opportunity to leave the school room and be a part of the company. Among the guests are the top-lofty Mr. Robert Wesbrook, a most disagreeable man to be sure; the beautiful actress Davina Durrell, who promises to help Ivy get her Season; and two brothers heading for America. Ivy is smitten with the handsome Edmund Montgomery and she's certain he feels the same. When Miss Durrell gets up and play to amuse the servants, she casts Ivy and Edmund in the title roles of Romeo and Juliet. Ivy can't wait to be alone with her Edmund, but every time she tries, Mr. Westbrook is in the way! Robert Westbrook is not amused. The storm has delayed him from accomplishing his business in London and now he seems to be the only sane person in a house full of Bedlamites. He feels it's up to him to look after the headstrong Ivy, though why he feels compelled to care, he really can't say. This story is told in the third person mostly from Ivy's point of view which prevents us from really getting to know Robert. The author seems to have patterned him after Mr. Darcy and like with Mr. Darcy, we get to know him through the opinions of others. He doesn't seem like hero material at first and I remain lukewarm in my opinion of him. There's a serious lack of romance in this novel. There's romance along the lines of Willoughby and Marianne and Elizabeth and Darcy but the relationship doesn't really progress the way in does in Pride and Prejudice. (Hence one reason why Jane Austen is the best!) The romances come too little too late to really be effective. Ivy is very young and a typical teenager, always wanting her own way and dreaming of a better life. She's not an easy character to like. I don't really enjoy teenagers as heroines of romances novels and Ivy is no exception. She matures a bit in the story but she has a lot of growing up to do still. The plot is trite and there are too many characters to keep track of. There are also a number of possible historical errors which bothered me. First, actors were not very respected and actresses were considered akin to prostitutes so I do not think that Ivy's uncle would even consider associating with an acting troupe let alone an actress. The cook's opinions seem the most realistic. Secondly, why has Ivy spent so much time with her parents and their friends when she's not yet out? Third, I don't think servants were allowed to marry or they were discouraged from socializing with the opposite sex and marrying while in service. To have a cook married to an outdoor servant just seems strange to me. This story just didn't meet my expectations and I wouldn't really recommend it except to those who are not able or willing to read Jane Austen.

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