Saturday, March 18, 2017

What I Read in May 2016 Part III . . .

What I Read in May 2016 Part III . . .

Miss Maitland's LettersMiss Maitland's Letters by Martha Kirkland--Regency Romance

Lieutenant Paul Clement is disgusted to learn that while he's waiting for Napoleon to make a move, his father has been busy arranging a marriage for Paul to a wealthy wool merchant's daughter. Clement doesn't wish to marry a Cit's daughter or anyone for that matter but he doesn't have much choice. He makes it clear he wants nothing to do with this Miss Maitland. His comrade in arms, Major Stephen Rutledge is alone in the world, making his own way in the army. He believes in true love and is curious about Paul's new betrothed, so he takes it upon himself to respond to a letter she wrote to Paul. A year later, Lorna Maitland has been waiting for her proposed fiance to come find her or invite her to his home so they can finally meet face to face. She's fallen in love with his beautiful, passionate letters and is convinced they are soul mates. When the invitation finally arrives from Sir and Lady Clement to visit Clement Park, Lorna is elated. However, the trip does not meet her expectations. Instead of an adoring fiance coming to greet her, she's met by his bold, teasing friend Major Rutledge.; Sir Duncan and Lady Clement are cold and treat Lorna's family like dirt; Paul makes no effort to meet Lorna alone and her young cousin is confined to the immaculate nursery. Then her beautiful, featherbrained cousin by marriage, Analise, arrives and Lorna begins to question Paul's feelings. She is also worried because it's not Paul's handsome face she sees when she closes her eyes and not his perfect body pressing against hers she dreams about - it's Stephen's! Stephen is madly in love with Lorna and has been throughout their correspondence, but she's his host's betrothed or as good as, and if she finds out the truth, she'll hate him forever. How can he convince her that Paul is not the right man for her?

This take on Cyrano had interesting potential but I don't think the plot had enough to sustain the story. The plot is padded with an unnecessary secondary plot about Ananlise and too much about beekeeping. All that extra stuff makes the book unnecessarily long for a Regency romance. I wondered how long it would take Lorna, an intelligent woman, to figure out the truth. It took way too long to be believable. I can see a modern woman making excuses for PTSD and I can see why Lorna might question whether Paul's being back in his familiar environment has made him cool, but for Lorna to really think about that shows her intelligence and compassion, but not any common sense. It's so obvious Stephen is the better man. I think the plot could have been condensed into a novella and been much better.

Lonra is an admirable character, despite her obtuseness. She's caring, compassionate and intelligent. She has spunk and has a temper but knows how to control it. She can behave like a lady when she wants to, despite what the Clements may think. She's a loving daughter and cousin and caring beekeeper. My question is: why on earth was she corresponding with someone she wasn't officially engaged to? That just doesn't make sense given the etiquette of the time period. Her father, Calvin, wants Lorna to marry a title but he settles on a baronet? That's not a title and there's better titles and social advancements to be found in London yet for some reason he settles on Sir Duncan's son- that doesn't make sense. It also doesn't make sense for Calvin to want social advancement for his daughter. Throughout the whole novel he displays loving and kind behavior towards his daughter and only wants her to be happy. Why not let her choose her own match? I liked Calvin and his hearty country ways. Lorna takes after her father in kindness and compassion.

The Clements are awful people. They're so awful that they would probably associate with Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion and make him look friendly. Sir Duncan is an uncaring, irresponsible jerk and his son is a pompous tool. He is hardly in the story except to be cold towards Lorna. It's obvious early on that Stephen is a better man. He's the male equivalent of Lorna in kindness and compassion but not in fortune and temperament. Where Lorna can be fiery and passionate, Stephen is teasing and acts carefree though he's not. I can see why that would bother Lorna at first but once she gets to know him better, she should be able to see past the teasing.

Analise is so ditzy and such a horrid mother. I didn't see much purpose for her to be in the novel except to advance the plot slightly when she arrives on the scene. Her son would be better off without her. Thomas is a sweet kid and mature for his 10 years.

There's some sensuality in this novel: ogling (both hero and heroine), thoughts about going to bed with him/her and awakening her passion within. This one barely has any kissing though.

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