Friday, July 12, 2013

What I've Read This Week Part II

What I've Read This Week Part II . . .

The Nabob's Daughter by Dawn Lindsay -- Regency Romance

Lord Stone Chance absolutely forbids his headstrong younger sister to sail off to Jamaica to marry some fortune hunter he's never even met. His word is final but Georgy doesn't seem to accept that. She's determined to have her own way. Miss Anjalie Cantrell is in London to visit her estranged maternal relatives. Since Anjalie is an heiress to her father's Jamaican plantations, everyone assumes she's in London to buy a title. It won't be so easy because her father was an orphaned nobody from nowhere turned sailor. He "smells of the shop." Anjalie is proud of her father and his humble origins. She can't stand the way these idle, effete British gentlemen spend their days doing nothing, wasting money and running up bills. If she had her way, she'd put them all to work. She feels distant from the English and never misses a chance to tell them what she thinks. When Georgiana forces an acquaintance with Anjalie, Chance is angry. He's upset because Miss Cantrell is filling his sister's head with romantic notions of Jamaica. When he tells her so, she informs HIM that HE should go to Jamaica, that it would do him good. Lord Chance can not believe the nerve of this girl who doesn't care one wit for his birth or title. He's used to being toadeaten and has avoided marriage but when he does marry, it certainly won't be to a wild hoyden. Then why does he seem to sometimes actually like Anjalie Cantrell? When circumstances force Anjalie and Stone together in an adventure beyond his wildest imaginings, he begins the charm in Jamaica and just maybe Anjalie was right. She begins to see a new side of Lord Chance that makes her reevaluate her opinion of him. This story is a reworking of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest with Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy as the hero. The first 2/3 of the book are very slow moving. Not much happens except a lot of arguing back and forth. The last 1/3 of the book is very good and I couldn't put it down. The descriptions in that part of the book are excellent and I really felt pulled into the novel and a part of the action. There's about as much romance as there is in North and South (the novel) or perhaps even less. It's obvious that Anjalie and Stone are Lizzie and Darcy but they never really get their relationship to the point where I wanted to root for them to be together.Anjalie is a very modern woman. Anjalie described as being "mannish" a lot or "more like a man than a woman." I would think she would not be accepted in society if that were the case. I felt like the author made Anjalie her mouth piece for criticizing Regency society. Yes there was a lot wrong with that time but 200 years from now people will have a lot to say about modern life and I read the books for escapism and fun. If you like Pride and Prejudice and North and South, you might like this one. 

A Christmas Gambol by Joan Smith -- Regency Romance

Cicely Caldwell, a plain country girl and aspiring author absolutely despises the latest modish novel Chaos is Come Again. She thinks it's silly and unrealistic and her own novel, based on the style of the anonymous lady who wrote Pride and Prejudice, is vastly superior. However, when her old friend Meg (now Lady Fairly)'s older brother Lord Montaigne invited Sissy to stay in London and pose as the author of that dreadful novel, Sissy agrees. She thinks London will provide research for her new book. She longs to observe the life of the ton AND see the slums. Lord Montaigne (Monty) has a secret. In a fit of boredom while recuperating from a broken ankle and broken heart, he wrote Chaos is Come Again. His political and social life would be ruined if anyone found out he was the anonymous lady, yet he agrees that the author will meet with the publisher and reviewers. The more success the book enjoys the more money Monty will earn to put towards an orphanage. In addition to continually mocking Monty's book (without knowing he's the author), Sissy relishes life among the ton. The ton provide her with any number of amusing characters for future novels. Yet, she does enjoy the feeling when the men flirt with her and doesn't really want to leave. She's also quite busy writing and trying to fix Meg's marriage. As Sissy becomes the darling of the ton, Monty becomes more and more annoyed with her. He should send her home now, but yet for some reason, he doesn't want her to leave. This is not one of Joan Smith's better novels. The entire plot is filled with inaccuracies : a young unmarried lady travels in a closed carriage with a gentleman; a country nobody calls a Duke by his nickname at invitation; Sissy continually insults her hosts and everyone else; Sissy talks openly to Meg and Monty about pregnancy and why Meg hasn't had a baby yet; she brings up the topic of mistresses to Monty, etc. etc. SOME of those things I can handle but not all of them in one book. It's just too unrealistic for me. Sissy is too modern to be a Regency heroine. She isn't very likeable. I wanted to like her because I think we would have a lot in common, but she's rude and insulting to everyone, especially Monty. Monty is a perfect paragon of a hero. He's romantic, philanthropic and kind. I don't know what he sees in Sissy except that she doesn't bore him. The actual romance comes at the end but there's a little bit more than in some of her earlier works. The romance is funny and sweet. I think the author was going for a Georgette Heyer vibe in this one but it doesn't work for me.

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