From my post at Enduring Romance:
Yes, I'm double-posting. It's my blog and I'll plagiarize if I want to.
I don’t have a review up because I made a big mistake- I bought this book, loved the blurb, loved the first few pages, and loved the ending. Yes, I peeked. Sue me. So I thought it would be perfect to review today.
Except, the book was ultimately a disappointment. Not exactly a wall-chucker, but a frustrating near miss. I won’t go into detail, because it’s just unique enough that you would recognize it and I don’t want to slam anyone. I will tell you that it is a historical, with one of my favorite plots. I must marry Bachelor #1, but I love Bachelor #2…or do I?
The characters were engaging and different, and the storyline was interesting, but it fell where I find most historicals go plop. The, you know, intimate scenes. Tea and crumpets. Regency hula.
If the characters are married, and learning to love each other while consummating, fine. Love it. Got no problem with it. Even if our heroine is a widow who knows very well what she’s about, I can at least understand that. But a virginal young miss who knows very well that her reputation is truly all she has? You just lost me.
Historical writers have to walk a fine line- you have to do enough research to make it believable, but there will always be some reader screeching that those kind of wine glasses weren’t used until 20 years later, moron! I understand the frustrations of appealing to modern readers while staying true to history, but this one thing I can’t swallow.
How, precisely, does a typical sheltered young girl, who has been protected from the exact details of sex, who has probably at some point been told to “lie back and think of England,” decide that hiking up her skirt OUTSIDE ON THE GRASS is perfectly fine? I can accept that said young miss got carried away, and can straighten her dress with nary a stain and go back to the house unseen. What I can’t accept is that, without benefit of marriage or instruction beyond a gossiping servant, is that she can on second tryst become a skilled and enthusiastic…er, performer of certain type of crumpet-making, if you catch my drift.
I can't make the leap that a girl not known for flaunting herself or fighting authority can suddenly be not just okay with that kind of intimacy but actively pursue it. Turned a really, really good story into a disappointment. Sort of like dressing up for dinner with your husband to find out he's taking you to Cracker Barrel.