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Frustration at Every Turn
on October 15, 2012
**warning*** this review has some spoilers
It's not just the characters who are frustrated throughout the book, it was myself as well.
I had high hopes for the story line, it was a novel approach and I enjoyed reading a romance from this time period set in Bath rather than in London. The main characters are engaging and the writing style is well done. But then the frustrations start.
First of all, Lady Iona is downright awful at anything approaching communication. She lets her family shut her up all the time, even when her very happiness depends on it. And then she constantly thinks about telling Nathan the truth about her father's plan to engage her to her cousin, but she never actually brings it up. It takes her forever to explain to him why she won't marry him. And then once he insists on the marriage, even after he's told her how impressed he is with her artwork and how he'll support her in the endeavor, she immediately starts assuming that he'll crush the happiness out of her and not let her do the things she wants to do. I have NO idea where she got that idea, and she never even asks him about it! I'm not really sure who she was rebelling against... it mostly seemed to be like she was rebelling against her assumptions rather than what people actually wanted/expected from her.
Not that Nathan's much better at communication, but at least he tries to talk to HER even if he doesn't clear up things with his family - not that they're listening to him anyway.
She's also more than a little bit selfish, but even once she realizes that she's behaving selfishly, she doesn't stop! And she behaves more than a little recklessly, putting herself in danger in ways that IF she truly had spent time helping women of the lower classes like she says she does, then she would know better. I understand wanting to make her seem innocent and naive, but in a lot of the situations she goes way too far and it just becomes ludicrous.
And then we have the ridiculous about turn of her family. Not only did her mother warn off Nathan from her - long before he had truly become a rake, and we never get a real explanation for that... unless the rumor about him ruining another girl was out beforehand? but even then, why would the DUCHESS be the one visiting and telling him that, shouldn't it be up to Iona's father? - but her father goes from punching Nathan in the face one night and insisting that she must marry her cousin as he's planned, to the next morning hearing Nathan out and then declaring that Iona must marry Nathan to save HIS reputation? Why on earth does her father suddenly believe Nathan's accounting of events? Out of freaking NOWHERE?!
There is a good story within this book, unfortunately it's hampered by way too many obstacles which bog down the plot line, an overabundance of bad communication between characters (to the point where I almost put the book down because they were annoying me so much with their ridiculousness), and ludicrous turn-arounds from several of the side characters who suddenly start behaving supportive without any explained motivation. That being said; I did adore Lord Nathan and the end of his story was immensely satisfying. I just wish that Lady Iona and her family hadn't been so ridiculously eye-roll worthy.