Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I've Read This Week Part I

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

The Wooing of Miss Masters by Susan Carroll -- Regency Romance

Simon, the Duke of Raeburn has decided at 37 to take a wife. He has asked his sister to assemble the finest young ladies in the area at a ball where he will choose a wife from among them. Augusta deplores her brother's manner of finding a wife. She wants him to marry for love the way she did. Miss Audra Leigh Masters wants nothing to do with any eligible gentlemen, Dukes or otherwise. She wants to be left alone to read. With her mother currently living in Italy with husband #5, Audra has charge of her younger half sister Cecily. Cecily, just done with finishing school, longs for parties and beaux and a London Season. She's bored to death in the country so when the ball is announced, she dreams of attending, but not being invited, she can only dream. When Audra chases Cecily's spoiled dog into Raeburn's woods, he thinks she's just another unmarried miss setting out to catch a Duke. Audra, not cowed by the Duke's ferocious scowl and gruff demeanor quickly sets him straight and runs off. Simon has finally found the one woman who doesn't bore him and she wants nothing do with him. Simon, however, is a man who will not be deterred, especially once his sister learns of the encounter. This is a typical sweet Regency romance. It's cute but not great. The hero and heroine are difficult to like. Simon is a good hero once you get to know him but he is a bully with people he doesn't know. He's a true alpha hero and I am not sure I really love him. I'm not certain that he and Audra are well matched either. I adored Audra. She's SO me! Bluestocking, animal-loving spinster who would rather be left alone to read than go to balls - check, check, check. I think she's a bit prickly though given her family situation and has closed herself off to the idea of love. She expresses some very valid concerns. Her personality and feelings about marriage make her a rather unconventional heroine. She's anti-social so she isn't exactly someone you want to root for but I loved her. I found Cecily annoying until the end. Who names their dog Frou-Frou? That is not someone I want to be friends with. The plot has some amusing moments that made me chuckle but nothing laugh out loud funny. The ending is rather unconventional for a period romance novel. I kind of like it because it's more realistic and makes sense for the story, yet they fell in love so fast it kind of doesn't make sense. This book is not one for the keeper shelf but worth a read

Summerset Abbey: A Bloom in Winter by T.J. Brown -- Historical Fiction/romance

January 1914 -Prudence tries to make the best of her situation and forget Sebastian while Victoria and Rowena find their true passions, friendship, romance, excitement and adventure. At first this novel is typical pre-WWI fiction with the same old poor little rich girl story. A far more interesting story would be the maid turned secretary. The second half of this novel is better than the first. I couldn't put it down. I finally began to like Rowena though she still lets others dictate her life for her. She made a decision I didn't approve of for the time period and I think Lady Mary Crawley would be quite jealous of Rowena. Prudence still doesn't appeal to me. She's trying hard to accept life as it is but she isn't doing much to change her situation. Victoria is the best of the three women. Her character is the most fleshed out and her situation interesting and exciting. She is the only one who experiences any growth. Even though I suspected something was going to happen when she met Martha and Mary, it didn't quite happen the way I expected. It's quite interesting and different from other novels. I love learning the history of the period.  Of the gentlemen, only Kit is given any real personality. He's charming and amusing but not given much depth. The author tells the story in a very detached manner. She tells instead of shows. The descriptions of the clothes are fabulous and the descriptions of the estate are very nice, but everything else is told to us: "Prudence felt..." Victoria did this, etc. I would have liked a bit more emotional involvement. For those who love Downton Abbey and loved the first pre-war season, this book will help fill the longing for more. There is a love scene but nothing is described at all. The content is clean enough for young adult and adults who prefer their romances clean.

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