By Anne Gracie
For a modern Regency romance, this one was not half bad. I don’t remember why I picked this one up, especially since I had thought another book by this author was so absurd that I gave it one star and skipped through most of it in 2 hours. I think it was because someone on my Georgette Heyer Facebook group compared the hero of this one, Freddy, to Freddy of Cotillion Indeed the hero was the best thing about this book and did bear a passing resemblance to one of my favorite heroes.
Unfortunately, I am just about over romance novels that don’t bring anything more to the table than the romance. Here we have two protagonists who are dead set against getting married agreeing to a fake betrothal to keep people off their backs. This one suffers because the journey to the inevitable finally falling in love part and the entirely obvious from the beginning deep dark secret that the heroine harbors is pretty tedious.
But there were some bright spots. One was the heroine’s takedown and telling off of Freddy’s cruel and blind parents.
Damaris couldn’t believe it. Had they never reflected on what they’d done? “You two treated him like an assassin, when he was just a little boy who liked to play cricket with his brother. Twelve years old, and you pushed him out of the family…What kind of parents are you? You lost one son, but you threw the other away.”
And it was not just one short scene either. She wins every point quite a few times.
The other was Freddy’s refreshing reaction to Damaris’ drama of finally confessing why she can never marry.
“Well, I’m shocked,” said Freddy in as shocked a manner as he could conjure up. “Deeply shocked,” he repeated. “May I serve you some of this apple tart? It looks and smells delicious, doesn’t it?” “Apple tart?” she repeated blankly. “Didn’t you hear what I said?”
Poor Damaris. She sure got the wind taken out of her sails.
Anne Gracie is not a bad writer, but there is no wit despite the light pleasant easy tone. There are too many eye-rolling moments and cliches in character development and plot. She is very repetitive. The cutesy term “muffin” for ingenues trying to trap Freddy into marriage is repeated like 40 times in a book just a little over 300 pages long. It was distracting and annoying.
April 17, 2019