Too Much Going On

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egriffith Avatar


I really tried to like this book, but there was just too much going on with it to be a coherent, organic story. The hero, Thane, has been severely injured in the war with Napoleon, and carries both physical and emotional scars that keep him from moving about in society. The heroine decides that to save her and her sister from a nefarious suitor (who happened to ruin her many years ago) she must propose marriage to "The Beast of Beswick." He refuses, so she tells him that she is also (very conveniently) an expert on Ming vases and can catalogue his extensive collection. He refuses this as well. Then several days later our heroine, Astrid, decides she and her sister are in grave danger and they flee to "the Beast's" home, where she begins to appraise his vase collection without permission. When her "host" does discover her at his home, he is furious. And while Astrid is dependent on his mercy, she constantly insults her "employer" by picking fights, taking offense at his opinions, and just being disagreeable. I felt very sorry for Thane and was not a fan at all of Astrid.
The author seemed to feel like every single convention of an "independent" female needed to be very evident in Astrid (I assume that's why she was continuously challenging and arguing with Thane), and she rode horses astride in breeches, swam like a fish, trained unmanageable horses, not to mention was an expert on ancient Chinese artifacts, a champion of Wollstonecraft, and even an author. I think the story would have flowed MUCH better if the author had picked one or two of these character traits and focused on them, instead of making her some kind of impossible "Renaissance woman." It was distracting and annoying.
There were also numerous plot points that were inconsistent, impossible, or anachronistic. Due to the fact that I read an ARC I will put all of those down to being an uncorrected proof and hope those things will be fixed in the published copy. As it was, the number of instances when these occurred really pulled me out of the story.
As I said, I wanted to like this book, but several chapters in, too many things just started to bother me. The main idea of the story was great. But it got bogged down with way too many unnecessary details.