Top critical review
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Not worth reading
on November 24, 2012
I eagerly bought this to read after reading the first of this two part novel series written by Van Dyken The Devil Duke Takes a Bride. Yes, Sanders co-wrote her Wallflower series with Van Dyken and Two Turtledoves, although written by Sanders, is considered part of Van Dyken's House of Rennick series. Both series are enjoyable, yet so much of this book is just ridiculous and it overlaps too much with Van Dyken's The Devil Duke Takes a Bride. In fact, it doesn't just overlap, most of it is simply the same. It's like you're reading the same book because there's nothing new here. Any rewriting of scenes that already appear in Van Dyken's novel is so slight and the perspective is not entirely new, therefore, not much light is shed on anything that happened in Van Dyken's novel. The scene in the hallway with the vase has better clarity, but what happened in the library is a complete let down and was not that intriguing in the first place.
This novel simply is not that interesting, especially after reading The Devil Duke Takes a Bride. This is not a novel comparison, but because both books are so closely related, enough to almost be the same, one has to wonder the point of this companion novel. We do not see much more of the characters than we did in Van Dyken's story as was anticipated and what we do see is neither entertaining nor engaging.
Anastasia comes off as a spoiled and childish character. She was infatuated with Baldwyn since she was seven, but as a young lady, we do not get a sense of grownup love from her. She has simply grown older, the infatuation still remains. There truly has been no maturity and her naivete and disconnect from reality do not make her likeable. As for Baldwyn, his commitment to duty is overdone and he remains a one dimensional character just like Anastasia, which makes a connection between them difficult to believe, especially when it is poorly established. Sanders does not do any better with the overbearing grandmother either. She is overdone and annoyingly so. She is in no way amusing, but an overbearing bully who does not know her place. All of the scraping and fleeing that the servants do in their fear of her is not humorous, but is exasperating. I lost all patience with this character. In addition, Saunders employs some plot elements that go nowhere; for example, the characters Tenorio and Markham serve no purpose to the plot and Anastasia's dotting father has his head higher in the clouds than she does.
What makes this novel further frustrating is that Sanders would actually have readers believe that a duke such as Baldwyn could simply be told he has to marry Anastasia and he'd fall in line without protest, meekly. Absurd. His grandmother could not have made a betrothal contract on his behalf without his consent and he be forced to honour it. He is a grown and respected duke. This is the same unbelievable situation that Van Dyken sets up in her novel.
I was intrigued by the prospect of reading Two Turtledoves as a novel that would offer a fresh perspective to another story and present two characters who are engaging, but, alas, it doesn't work out that way. Neither the plot nor the characters are developed and you end up feeling like you've read the story before because you have. There is nothing to set this story apart from the original.
Save your money. If you've read Van Dyken's novel, you don't need to read this one. If you haven't, don't bother reading this, simply read Van Dyken's. I like Sanders and Van Dyken's Wallflower series, but this truly isn't worth reading.