Sunday, February 28, 2010

Victoria Alexander "The Princess and the Pea"

Okay, so how do you deconstruct a decent author when they write a not so decent book. The Princess and the Pea is about a Chicago heiress who goes to England to pretend to be looking for a titled husband; get a particular Earl on her hook and then humiliate him by dumping him. (His family turned down a friend of hers.) The two meet each other without being properly introduced so he thinks she is the daughter of a butcher and she thinks he is a penniless inventor of automobiles. They fall in love and he breaks it off because he can't offer her any real commitment since he has to marry to save the family estates and such.

Where did it go wrong for me? He writes her a note and instead of actually reading it, or insisting on finding him to make him explain (she is supposed to be headstrong and impetuous) she is heartbroken and angry at him. She's an intelligent woman, who takes her sense of honor seriously, and she acts like he rudely broke her heart with no rhyme or reason. It's downhill from there, he vacillates between not understanding why she wouldn't be relieved that she's rich and that solves all his responsibility problems to deciding that he will give up the title and go with her to America and screw all the tenants he was so worried about before, then he changes his mind, he really likes his estates after all.

Too long, not enough sex, although I didn't care since I didn't really like these characters and what a strange side story about the parents. Bummer.
Historical Romance 2009: 2 out of 5 missed assignations at the Tour Eiffel.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sandra Schwab "Castle of the Wolf"

This is my first 'Gothic' romance novel per se. I found it at the library and true to my usual well researched reading habits, liked the cover and title so I took it home. I wanted to like it, and in many ways I did, but it felt like a first novel that needed some editing to tighten it up. I will add the caveat again, that I've not read other Gothic books so there were moments where the 'atmosphere' seemed a bit forced but beyond that....

I really liked the addition of the fairytale tidbits, but there were too many of them. It felt like they were there because the author had the knowledge, not because it furthered the story. Judicious use of them would have worked better. Same basic complaint about how often the heroine notices his large hands. Overall, the story is good, the characters are decently drawn, the castle and black forest setting, how can you not like that, the book just needed about 50 pages less of repetitive observations.

This is an author I would keep my eye on. There is some definite promise here.

Historical Romance 2008: 3.5 of 5 gargoyles watching.