My dear readers, I’m definitely in a romance novel slump. I’ve read three humdrum romance novels and started another that I never plan on finishing. And I’ve officially taken a whole series off of my (delusional) summer reading list. It’s a total bummer because I really wanted to like all of these books! They all had interesting premises, but never lived up to their promise.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
- First, there was Along Came a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle. You may remember that I put the Rhymes with Love series on my summer reading list. I’ve officially taken it off. Let me say this: I want to like Elizabeth Boyle. In fact, I do like two of her books from her The Bachelor Chronicles series, Lord Langley Is Back in Town and Mad About the Duke. But unlike those two, Along Came a Duke left me cold. I actually liked the heroine, Tabitha Timmons, in the book. She was innocent without being weak and silly. She faced whatever came her way with wit and grace. But the hero. Oh, the hero. The fact is that the Duke of Preston left much to be desired. He’s one of those romance heroes who seems not to care for anything specific, has no way of earning an income (except when gambling on his own reckless behavior), and wants to be a perpetual bachelor. Also, he has meddling relatives. And a scandalous background, which usually isn’t so bad, but his scandal didn’t seem to make sense to me, honestly, much like most of the plot devices used. Oh, and I think Boyle made us privy to more dialogue between the Tabitha and her friends or Preston and his family than we are to dialogue between the to character. Always a mistake, in my opinion. I realize this sets up the series so we have to be introduced to the other characters, but the romance between Tabitha and Preston suffered for it.
- I decided to plod on with the series, though, thinking it could turn around in the next book, And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake, but I was wrong. Daphne Dale and Henry Seldon are the stars in the next one, a problem considering the Dales and the Seldons are enemies. This is another plot device that isn’t terrible usually, but the characters were so childish about this enmity that I started to question their respective ages. I just couldn’t go forth, and I, painfully, realized that I won’t be reading any of the others in the series. Read it if you like romances that focus more on friendships surrounding the main characters, that have heroes with no particular skill set, and that have lighthearted dialogue that can’t be taken too seriously. You know, the ones you read after a pretty serious, heavy book. This book will make you laugh, although not entirely for the right reasons.
- Then, I read Defiant by Pamela Clare. It wasn’t terrible, truly. But it would be pretty disturbing for some readers. There’s a part at the beginning where Native Americans have kidnapped the heroine, Lady Sarah Woodville, along with a little boy and her companion. The little boy and the companion don’t make it, and it’s pretty harsh in the land of lighthearted romance. But calling this romance “lighthearted” is a misnomer, since it’s set during the French and Indian War in the U.S. The hero, Connor McKinnon, is the leader of the ranger unit, a fierce unit used to fight for the English interests in the colonies. There’s potential for rape, and honestly, some readers might consider the first sexual encounter to be rape, too, though there’s an excuse for it happening that way. I dunno. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, but the historical research was evident. Read it if you like romances with conflicts set to the backdrop of war, and you don’t mind a harsh reality check for the heroine and the hero.
- Finally, there’s The Romantic by Madeline Hunter. First, there are typos in this eBook, so those of you who hate being taken out of a romance with grammar errors, beware! This book has probably my favorite plot device, a hero, in this case Julian Hampton, who has been in love with the heroine, in this case Penelope, the Countess of Glasbury, who has no idea of his affection. But she’s married. This is not something that some readers will appreciate. In fact, I didn’t, even though her husband was an abusive freak. Julian was a solicitor, and her family was powerful, if impoverished at one time. She had the means to divorce, but decided against it. And that didn’t make sense to me. She, and the hero, claim she is constantly thinking about others and how her divorce would affect them. Her choice is baffling, honestly, as is the logic of other choices. Read this if you enjoy unrequited love stories and a historical subtext for women’s rights.
That’s all, my fellow readers. I hope you’re having better luck than I am in the romance novel department lately. I will say that I think my luck is about to change because I just bought Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas, my number one want-to-read of the summer. YAY!
I’ll have that review really soon. Like, I’ll probably read this tonight and have a review tomorrow. That’s how excited I am for this book.
Until then, my lovelies, enjoy your summer reading!