I wish I could upgrade the rating from suckity-suck to the theory-good-practice-not level, but I can’t. This book read like someone, after having written one historical romance too many, decided to fake it and throw together an endless string of period appropriate sounding platitudes. When I start paying attention to the language and platitudes, you know the story sucks.
Annelise Sophronia Sawcross – Anne Wynter is a governess at the Pleinsworth household. She’s very lucky to have such a good position after being forced to live on her own and slave for her only two letters of recommendation. Of course someone is going to walk into her life and ruin it for her. The disaster comes in form of Daniel Smythe-Smith, the Earl of Winstead, recently returned from three year exile on the continent.
The heroine, at sixteen, was a vain and self-absorbed nitwit who got herself into trouble with a man she loved. After eight years she’s grown up a bit; I just don’t think she’s grown up enough. She’s a wishy-washy thing who on a theoretic level recognises the boundaries of her station in life, but in reality fails to show any kind of moral backbone and act accordingly. One minute she’s begging the oh so high above her earl to kiss her and another she’s pulling away, telling him to leave, and saying sorry for things she’s only half responsible for. Anne Wynter isn’t a woman who has learned to clean up her own messes.
What of the hero then? He’s another precious aristocrat, a babe in a man’s body, an adolescent who has given up alcohol but failed to fix whatever got him into the trouble with the Ramsgates and forced him to flee England in the first place. One minute he’s acting like any other man with a woman—stealing kisses, copping a feel—and another he’s a virginal youth dreaming of holding hands with his very first sweetheart ever.
Nothing of this story comes across convincing or consistent let alone appealing.
The whole book is basically about Anne thinking she shouldn’t but doing it anyway, and Daniel flying off the handle but failing to harm the one person most deserves to be harmed—himself.
Without the costumes and dates mentioned, I wouldn’t have thought I was reading a historical romance. The characters don’t exactly talk and act like people from the 1900’s. (I swear to all things holy Anachronist is brainwashing me because I never used to notice these things.) Of course I’m not an expert on the language but some of the expressions Quinn uses feel too modern for the context. There were good quotes and an odd scene or two that were almost entertaining, but nothing in the way this author writes is especially attractive to me.
This was my first attempt reading a Julia Quinn novel and it looks to be my last.
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #2
Pages: 373 (paperback)
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Published: May 29th 2012