Tag Archives: regency romance

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.

Review of Waiting For an Earl Like You, by Alexandra Hawkins

I won an ARC copy of Waiting for an Earl Like You, by Alexandra Hawkins. Unfortunately, it got lost for a while.

Description from Goodreads:

Justin Reeve Netherwood, Earl of Kempthorn—a.k.a. Thorn—has never cared much for his neighbor’s daughter. But his twin brother, Gideon, befriended the wild, reckless, and wholly inappropriate Miss Olivia Lydall in youth, and two have been close ever since. So when Olivia finds herself in a state of romantic conflict and seeks out Gideon for advice, he’s only too pleased to oblige. Only problem: The man Olivia is speaking to is Thorn. And now it’s too late for him to tell Olivia the truth…

Thorn always believed that Olivia was too smitten with Gideon for her own good. So what’s the harm in steering her away from him? But Thorn’s charade turns out to be anything but harmless once he begins to see Olivia for who she really is: A woman full of spirit and passion…and someone he can’t live without. But how can Thorn claim Olivia’s heart when their deepening connection—and burning desire—is built on lies and deceit?

Review: (with spoiler)

A few weeks back, I (thought) I read all the regency romance on my physical book shelf. If you include the extra short at the end of one of them, I read books with two duke, two viscount and a marquess heroes*. Apparently, I missed this one about an Earl. It was hidden in the back of a double-lined shelf. 

Regency romance is hard for me. When I find one I like, I tend to love it. But they have a high probability of including problematic ideas around female autonomy, male control and possession of women. Of course, for the time period, some of that is to be expected. But some books manage to challenge it and others seem to revel in it. Waiting for an Earl Like You if of the latter. 

I liked very much that Olivia was head strong and not inclined to do what she was told. But throughout the book Thorn undermines her, which largely nullified the effect. There’s references to him setting up the rules of their relationship and hints at discipline if she doesn’t obey. I disliked it. 

Further, I really just hated Thorn. Imagine the scenario…He thinks his brother is in love with Olivia.The two of them have been best friends since childhood (age difference be damned). So, he sets out to seduce her, falls in love and marries her. The fact that his brother loved her is never address. The author tried to twist the events of early in the book to make it seem like Thorn had always loved her, and therefore it’s all all right. But it’s bogus and doesn’t work. He was a jerk. The impression really wasn’t helped by the authors frequent references to he and his friends past debaucheries. They really seem like the sort that take advantage of their station, unlikable to the extreme. 

Then there is a whole mystery set up around why Gideon left, where he’d been, why he came back and why he and Thorn are so distant. But it’s never cleared. It’s just a big question mark. Perhaps this is addressed in one of the other books, but it’s not here and really, this mystery was the primary reason I kept reading. So, not having it solved irked me. 

Lastly, one of my pet peeves in books is how easily and off-hardly authors victimize women. In this book, Olivia is randomly almost kidnapped by three random men for nefarious purposes (one would assume rape) and then later deliberately kidnapped to be sold as a sex slave. This was taking the plot off in some ridiculous and unbelievable direction, but it was also wholly unnecessary. There are a million other ways to punish a regency era woman. But the author jumped to sex slave? I was livid. 

*My Once and Future Duke, My One and Only Duke (with Once Upon a Christmas Eve), Schooling the Viscount, and Unmasked by the Marquess