Saturday, December 7, 2013

What I've Read This Week Part II

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

Perfectly Flawed (A Gentlemen of Worth Book 2) by Shirley Marks -- Regency Romance

Now that Lady Augusta Worth is happily married, the gentlemen of the ton flock to the country to court her younger sister Charlotte. When Charlotte realized all the gentlemen in London have come to see her she can't figure out a way to determine which one to marry. Her youngest sister Muriel has a plan to weed out those who only love Charlotte for her looks. Her plan is slightly complicated by the arrival of Sir Phillip Somerville, Exquisite. Sir Phillip travels without a valet and only one small leather trunk yet he always manages to dress impeccably and Charlotte is immediately smitten. Muriel refuses to have this fop as a brother-in-law so she'll just have to factor him into her plans. The best laid plans go to waste though and Muriel may have to revise her plan to see her sister happily wed. Perfectly flawed is an apt title for this novel because that's what it is. I don't even know where to begin. I'll start with the perfectly dreadful writing style. I thought perhaps it was meant to be a gentle joke poking fun at Regency novels. The style tries to mimic what writers think people sounded like back then. The period speech comes and goes; the characters sound pompous. The writing in no way resembles the polished, careful writing of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. The characters call each other by dreadful nicknames the whole time. I got tired of reading "Char-Char" and "Moo" every few sentences. It was really nauseating. Now let's discuss the characters. They're all very two-dimensional. Charlotte is even more annoyingly perfect than Jane Bennet. She's sickly sweet and less of a good judge of character than Jane. Muriel is a bluestocking and very prejudiced against men for some reason. Sir Phillip comes across as a fop but there are hints that he's not revealing his true self. We hear a lot about him from other characters but don't get to know him very well. There's only a small amount of interaction between him and the Worth ladies. Aunt Penny is hardly a worthy chaperone letting a strange man stay with them and allowing the girls to be alone in a room with gentlemen. She's hardly in the story at all. The plot didn't make much sense. Why exactly are all the gentlemen leaving London to see Charlotte? Are they under some kind of a spell? They act like it. Muriel has the right idea but the wrong way of executing it. I didn't like her plan but I don't have a better solution except let Charlotte decide for herself. Muriel is entirely unlikeable. Sir Samuel shows up near the end and presumably he was in the first book of the series but his character isn't developed here at all. I was left confused by the introduction of a new character so late in the story and have two baronets in one story was confusing. I just didn't like this silly story very much and wouldn't recommend it to those who love good, well-written literature. It's pure fluff and nonsense and I certainly wouldn't PAY to read it but I might read more by the author if the library has any. 

Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind by Heidi Ashworth -- Regency Romance

When Sir Anthony Crenshaw's Grandmama, the Dowager Duchess of Marcross, asks him to accompany her grandniece Ginny to the country and check on her roses, he smells a marriage plot. He can't say no to his formidable grandmother and her formerly pious, romantic niece is now a beautiful young woman. A little harmless flirtation never hurt anybody and he'll be back in London by tomorrow. Ginny may not be a school girl any longer but she knows all about London gentlemen and wants nothing to do with any of them, including Sir Anthony. She suspects there's more to him that the icy polite mask he wears in public. She's determined to goad him into revealing his true self before they arrived at Dunsmere. The trip doesn't go exactly as planned what with highway men stealing their carriage, a case of chicken pox and being quarantined with a buffle headed young lady and an equally idiotic young poet. Not to mention the young lady's parents who may have a thing or two to say about her future. Sir Anthony's patience quickly unravels but he tries to keep his calm. If only a certain young lady wouldn't try his patience so much! This comedy of manners story is very much in the line of the old Signet and Zebra Regencies. It's nice to see that drawing room comedies and clean romances are still being published. The writing quality isn't quite as good as some of the Heyer wannabes who wrote back in the 80s and 90s. It's not terrible though. At least the author refrains from attempting to sound like Jane Austen. The story is amusing; I even giggled at parts. It's cute, it's light and fluffy and the heat factor is close to nothing. (A couple of kisses, including a passionate angry kiss). The romance develops over the course of less than two weeks but because the characters were forced to spend 24/7 together, it's mostly believable. Plus, Ginny and Sir Anthony already knew each other. I liked Ginny because I value speaking my mind, however, she is not very period correct. The whole story hinges on Sir Anthony giving up his code of honor in a time period when a strict social code prevailed. Giving it up would mean social suicide and Sir Anthony would be an outcast. We see evidence of that in Ginny so why she would encourage anyone to go against the social code, I don't know. If you're not a high sticker and enjoy the light drawing room comedies of Marion Devon, Emily Hendrickson, etc. you will like this novel. I'll read the sequel though it's not necessary.

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