Tag Archives: regency romance

Review of A Wallflower’s Folly, by Amanda Mariel

I received an Audible code for a copy of Amanda Mariel‘s A Wallflower’s Folly.

Description from Goodreads:

A headstrong wallflower… 

Lady Olivia Montague’s betrothed has ignored her and their contract for years. In the meantime, she has decided to remain unwed, embracing the life of a spinster. The last thing she expects is for her betrothed to come storming back into her life. 

A Determined Duke… 

Following the death of his parents, William Breckenridge finds himself as the Duke of Thorne and in charge of his three younger sisters. He needs help in the form of a mother and guide for his siblings. Lucky for William, he’s already betrothed. All he need do is collect his future duchess. 

An unstoppable love… 

William and Olivia engage in a battle of wills, but the more she resists and he pursues, the more their passions flare. Once the heart is engaged, resistance becomes difficult, but will they give into happily ever after?

Review:

This book and I had problems, the most grievous of which was the fact that I was indignant on Olivia’s behalf for the entire book. Their marriage was arranged when they were children. Then, he disappeared for 15 years without so much as a word. But when he needed a woman to do womanly things in his life, he showed up—a perfect stranger—to take the tool off the shelf and demands she honor the agreement (because she’s convenient). Until that point he hadn’t honored it, but despite her protests that she did not wish to marry him, he demanded she would. 

Given these circumstances I was even more indignant that he liked and was attracted to her. He got to ignore her for as long as he liked (injuring her in the process) and then gets a pretty and amusing wife out of the deal. While she got ignored and then forced into a marriage she didn’t want. Oh, how men always get their cake and to eat it too, while women eat crow, apparently. The fact that she gave in as soon as he said the magic three words enraged me further still, if you’d believe that possible. As if all it takes to make a woman who doesn’t desire marriage desirous of it is to be chosen by a man. Seriously, fuck off. 

Also, the whole premise of the book is how long the Duke ‘left her on the shelf’ before coming to claim her (and she’s meant to mother a 19 and 20-year-old.) So, she must be above average age for a marriageable woman. Yet, neither of her BFFS appear to be married either and she acts like a complete child. 

Lastly, a comment on the editing/narration. Since I had an audio copy, I don’t know where the errors originated (from the author or the narrator), but there were several misused words/grammar errors. And while as an American I’m no expert on English accents, I rather suspect this narrator’s accent (with her Vs for Th, for example) did not even approximate an aristocratic English accent. Rather like hearing a book set in the Bronx read in a Southern accent, for us Americans. Not bad, but a little jarringly out of place. Presumably more so for those from that part of the world.

I’d likely give this author another chance. But this book was a bust.

Review of Once A Pirate, by Diana Bold

I received an Audible credit for a copy of Once A Pirate, by Diana Bold.

Description from Goodreads:

The Earl of Sutcliffe has a problem – his son, Daniel, prefers men to women.  After two years of marriage to Lady Kathryn Sinclair, Daniel hasn’t produced an heir.  Desperate to continue his bloodline, Sutcliffe turns to his illegitimate son, Talon Montgomery. Knowing the prosperous American privateer will never do as he wishes, Sutcliffe arranges for his son to be falsely arrested for piracy. Talon is devastated when he believes his entire crew has been executed.  When he discovers Sutcliffe has interceded on their behalf, Talon is willing to do anything to keep them safe – even seduce his sister-in-law. 

Review:

Mechanically this was well written, and the narrator did a fine job of it. But I had a hella lot of problems with the plot. For one, while it doesn’t quite sink to Bury Your Gays, it comes perilously close (more than once). What’s more, it’s done off-page, practically without comment and 100% without mourning. And it comes within touching distance of suggesting the gay character is gay because he was sexually abused as a child. (Though I will acknowledge that he doesn’t actually die or have a tragic future, just a tragic past.)

Secondly, the “love” is so fast as to feel instant. I didn’t feel this relationship AT ALL.

Third, the villain is so villainous as to be a caricature.

Lastly, Kathryn (the heroine) is married. But the book still follows the well trodden love=marriage and children pathway. Which can’t really work when the woman is already and still married to someone else! (Thus the need to Bury the Gay.)

This is apparently a republication of an older work, from 2006. I feel like if I’d known that before I read it, I wouldn’t have chanced it. The genre has come a long way in the past decade. The fact that the writing itself was decent makes me think I could give a newer work a chance and maybe like it.

Review of The Miser of Mayfair, by M. C. Beaton

I borrowed an audio copy of The Miser of Mayfiar, by B. C. Beaton from the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

#67 Clarges Street is unlucky. Rental agent Palmer blackmails butler Rainbird and staff to stay for pittance of wages. From Scotland for the London Season, dazzling orphan Fiona sets her sights on haughty Earl of Harrington, and gives the servants first cut of her gambling winnings, insists she is the sole heir to her father Roderick Sinclair, a miser with a failing heart.

Review:

Honestly just not very good. Nothing is even remotely consistent. It was going for a Georgette Heyer feel, I think, but didn’t manage it. 

The book starts out well enough, with the beautiful Miss Fiona’s introduction. She’s so cow-eyed and dumb you can’t help but assume it’s a sham. And it is. She’s a smart, capable card sharp. (Though we’re never told how she came to these skills.) Then about mid book it all evaporates and she becomes just as stupid as she pretends. But only as long as it assists the plot. Then, she’s suddenly smart, brave and capable again. The villains are cartoonish and the love interest has several unbelievable changes of heart for no apparent reason and goes against social convention without explanation. Also, he almost rapes Fiona, hardly a hero. 

This has a nice new looking cover. So, I borrowed it from the library. But I later learned it was originally written in 1987. Maybe that explains a lot. But even for the late 80s, bad writing is bad writing. To her, credit Lindy Nettleton did as much with the manuscript as a narrator probably could. The narration is just fine. The book is not.