Saturday, December 14, 2013

What I've Read This Week Part II

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

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella -- Women's Fiction

Lottie goes out to lunch with her long-time boyfriend dreaming of a romantic marriage proposal. What she gets is an awkward lunch where her boyfriend fails to propose and even balks at the suggestion. Lottie is left with a broken heart but to save face, she pretends SHE broke up with HIM in order to focus on her career. Then an old flame from her gap year in Greece calls and when Lottie meets Ben again, the sexual tension sizzles between them. Lottie wants this relationship to succeed so she decides to do the opposite of what she's done with her previous boyfriends... NOT sleep with him until they're married. Great but Ben can't wait and neither can Lottie which leads them to registry hall and a honeymoon in Ikokos in Greece where they first met. Lottie's older sister Fliss is going through a bitter divorce. She can't let go of her ex's failings as a husband and father. He unceremoniously dumps their seven year old son Noah on her during a busy moment in her career. When she learns of Lottie's planned elopement she knows it's one of Lottie's Unfortunate Choices that typically follows a breakup. Fliss is determined to stop Lottie from making the biggest mistake of her night even if it means sabotaging the honeymoon, at least until she can arrive and talk sense into her sister. Fliss heads off to Greece with Noah in tow and discovers that she isn't the only one stalking the newlyweds. Ben's friend Lorcan is also headed to Greece to keep Ben from selling his company to an unscrupulous businessman. They're joined by an unexpected person who has their own reasons for wanting to find Lottie and Ben. Meanwhile Lottie and Ben are hampered by sexual frustration (warning: this book has some very raunchy moments) and a longing to return to their youth. So what if there's a lot that Ben seems to remember that Lottie doesn't. That year changed her life forever and she knows that she made the right decision. The plot of this novel kept me guessing. I couldn't put the book down. At first I thought I knew what was going to happen or what I hoped would happen. Then I wasn't sure. I changed my mind a few times on how I wanted it to end and I was mostly satisfied with the conclusion. I preferred Fliss's plot to Lottie's though. Lottie is downright crazy. She has issues and needs to see a therapist. I giggled a bit at her antics but really, I didn't like her very much. She's 33 years old but acts a lot younger. Fliss too has issues but her plot is better developed and more mature than Lottie's. I liked her a lot, probably because I am a big sister. However, I wouldn't go about ruining my sister's life the way she does! My sister is an adult. She didn't listen to me, made her own decisions and now she has to live with them and I thought Fliss needed to realize that early on. She also needs to see a therapist about her divorce and her son's issues. Noah made me laugh a lot but I felt sorry for him and worried about him. I liked Lorcan. He comes across as a Mr. Darcy type and the beginning of his relationship with Fliss is sort of about pride and prejudice. His development happens too suddenly though. It's tacked on at the end and so his plot is concluded rather more quickly than I would have liked. I was hoping for a slightly different ending but the way the characters failed to develop, they need to work on their issues more. (Yes I know it's fiction). I hated Ben from the beginning. His character doesn't really develop much. I liked Richard the best, however, I felt that he was a fantasy created by a woman and didn't seem very realistic. I thought that the concept was more mature than some of Sophie Kinsella's earlier books. The plot offered some interesting social commentary on marriage and relationships. I'm not married and maybe I'm reading something into the book that wasn't intended. It does have some more serious undertones than the Shopaholic series. It's also a lot longer than her earlier books. I liked the book a lot but it's not my favorite of Sophie Kinsella's books.

Miss Osborne Misbehaves by Marian Devon  -- Regency Romance

Miss Eliza Osborne is traveling on the Brighton stage - alone - the folly of which Mr. Garrick Slaughter demonstrates to Eliza on more than one occasion. Mr. Slaughter has just been released from Newgate and is traveling in Eliza's direction. After the journey together, she's certain she can trust him. When she discovers from her aunt that Mr. Slaughter is the illegitimate son of Lord Wenham and was imprisoned for stealing her ladyship's diamond earrings, Eliza is certain Garrick was framed. Who framed him? Could it be his younger half-brother, a crippled young man who stands to inherit everything except a freehold willed to Garrick? Perhaps it was Lady Wenham who has always been jealous of her husband's attention to his older, perfect son; or maybe it was her mother, Lady Cheselden, a cantankerous old lady who tries to bully Eliza. Eliza won't stand on ceremony with any of the Wenhams. Her uncle-by-marriage is a poor relation and her family is respectable. Eliza's hot temper and quick tongue may get her into trouble with her elders but it earns her the friendship of the Wenham brothers. Then the lovely Juliet appears and both brothers seem to be in love. Garrick thinks Eliza is perfect for Jared but his mother has him practically engaged to Juliet. Eliza is bound up in a tangle of mysteries, romance and prejudice. She feels it's up to her to untangle the knots, but where does she fit into the story? High sticklers beware. Eliza is a very modern heroine. I didn't really like her very much. I thought she was rude. I would never dream of speaking that way to anyone outside my family even today. There's no way a well born girl of the 19th century would lose her temper the way Eliza does. She spends a lot of intimate moments alone with Garrick (in an innocent way) and again I wouldn't ever behave the way she does with a virtual stranger. In the beginning she doesn't have much choice but once she arrives in the country, she spends a lot of time alone with one brother or the other. It's perfectly obvious who the villain was and perfectly stupid that anyone would believe Eliza over that person. That didn't make much sense. None of the characters actually behaved the way they should. Lord Wenham is given an excuse for his behavior and we also learn about Lady Wenham's motivation. The behavior of the characters just didn't seem period correct and ruined my enjoyment of the story. We learn a lot about the Wenham brothers. We see Jared's real personality first hand but Eliza and Jared are told something important about Garrick second hand that shapes his character. Even though he's sort of enigmatic, I liked Garrick and I felt bad for him. As usual, the period details are delightful. I especially liked the description of the smells and the grime that make it realistic. There's rather too much of a scene set at a boxing match but again it shows the author's attention to detail and research. The story made me chuckle a bit at times but I just couldn't love this one. It's not Marion Devon's best.

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