Saturday, April 26, 2014

What I Read Last Weekend

What I Read Last Weekend . . .

The Mad Miss MathleyThe Mad Miss Mathley by Michelle Martin -- Regency Romance

Melinda Mathley is seen as mad by most of the ton and even her own family. When she refuses her 7th offer of marriage (to her father's friend) her father is outraged. He vows to marry her off to the next man who asks even if he has to drag her to the altar himself. Mel knows Papa will calm down after a time but she has other suitors waiting in the wings, none of whom she wants to marry. She's a realist about marriage - she doesn't dream of true love as in the novels but she would at least like some degree of affections. She knows these men are all fortune hunters after her dowry and she has plans to spend her dowry that don't involve marriage. Mama is too busy having spasms to help and Mel's dear, sweet sister Jane is just too biddable to understand. She's on the verge of marriage to a Marquess in order to please the family. Whatever shall Mel do? Enter Peter, Lord Carlton, a rake and a scoundrel who has recently returned to London from Yorkshire. He has entered Society again in order to please a dying uncle who promised to leave Peter a fortune if Peter could be respectable for a month. Peter desperately wants the money to repair his estates but he finds Society very dull. Then he meets Melinda who proposes a sham engagement and soon Peter is embroiled in Melinda's mad starts. For the first time since childhood, he's truly happy and having fun. Melinda comes to rely on Peter's help enacting her grand plans. It's too bad they have to end the engagement as soon as Papa reconsiders.

This book reads like a Georgette Heyer knock-off. There are elements of Arabella and Friday's Child and other Regency books. Unfortunately, the story doesn't live up to the high standards set by Ms. Heyer. Melinda is crazy. In the first chapter alone she manages to break a lot of the rules and continues to ignore almost all the rules of etiquette. She espouses some very modern viewpoints that seemed improbably coming from someone with such silly parents. I can't say that no one at that time would have agreed with her, but she wasn't supposed to do or say those things even if she did think them. I admire heroines who speak their mind but Melinda went way too far. Peter is also mad. He can get away with a lot more, being a gentleman, but he too has some very modern ideas and goes along with all of Melinda's crazy plans without a care for her reputation. There's a method to their madness and both have hearts of gold. I found Peter to be a rather boring hero. His reputation was worse than his actual exploits, at least as far as the reader is told. The reasons behind their behavior are revealed too late. The plot dragged on and on with one madcap adventure after the other. The last one seemed tacked on and out of place. I didn't like it and didn't like the way it was resolved. I don't think the author had much knowledge of the Regency era.

The romance is very Heyeresque, as in it's a meeting of the minds. There's no real passion or anything other than mutual respect and friendship. The characters take too long to talk to each other and when they do, it seems kind of forced in order to bring them closer. I kept waiting for the kiss but it didn't happen when I expected. The misunderstanding at least made sense.

This is a mediocre Regency that I wouldn't recommend to high sticklers and devoted Regency readers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave comments and or suggestions for QNPoohBear, the modern bluestocking.