Top critical review
31 of 39 people found this helpful
Baffling amount of positive reviews
on November 24, 2012
As this book is currently one of the finalists in the Goodreads Choice 2012 awards, and has a huge number of positive reviews both there and here on Amazon, I decided to give it a try. Many of the reviews compare the writing to that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and all I can say is that both women must be spinning in their graves. Or possibly "twirling" like the heroine in this preposterous story.
It's labeled as a "proper romance", because there aren't any graphic love scenes, but the behaviour of the hero and heroine is deeply improper from the moment they first meet. As the heroine is an inexperienced young girl from the country, her ignorance and foolishness might be explained away, but the so-called "gentleman" hero should know better than to encourage the girl to call him by her first name, flirt inappropriately with her in private and in front of his family.
The first half is full of badly done exposition, the author overuses adjectives, and in pretty much every scene, all the characters seem to feel an excess of emotions from joy to anger to despair, if the descriptions of their feelings and facial expressions is to be believed. The book is wildly melodramatic, and might have been better if it was written in 3rd person - but sadly, it's not.
Then there's the plot, highwaymen, falling into rivers, inappropriate flirting and banter, the heroine taking a nap outside on a hill with the hero watching and subsequently saying that she snores like "a big, fat man" (all so very "proper"), dreadfully characterized supporting characters, kidnappings, random duels - it may sound exciting, but most of the time, it's just dull, and there's a limit to how far I can suspend my disbelief.
I fully understand that readers may be looking for clean, chaste Regency romances - but do yourselves a favour and read a Georgette Heyer novel instead. This is simply a very poor excuse for a novel, pretty cover notwithstanding.