Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Much Ado About You by Eloisa James

Book Description:
When you're the oldest daughter, you don't get to have any fun!

Witty, orphaned Tess Essex faces her duty: marry well and marry quickly, so she can arrange matches for her three sisters -- beautiful Annabel, romantic Imogen and practical Josie. After all, right now they're under the rather awkward guardianship of the perpetually tipsy Duke of Holbrook. But just when she begins to think that all might end well, one of her sisters bolts with a horse-mad young lord, and her own fiancé just plain runs away.

Which leaves Tess contemplating marriage to the sort of man she wishes to avoid -- one of London's most infamous rakes. Lucius Felton is a rogue whose own mother considers him irredeemable! He's delicious, Annabel points out. And he's rich, Josie notes. But although Tess finally consents to marry him, it may be for the worst reason of all. Absurd as she knows it to be, she may have fallen utterly in love…

I wanted to like this book, I really did! But, it fell short of my expectations, I thought it was a pretty ho-hum regency romance. I've decided not to read further about the exploits of the Essex Sisters (there are two sequels out there). The characters were undeveloped and the romance was lacklustre at best - there wasn't even much humor in the book to make up for the lack of passion! The sex scenes were in that vague sort of manner - nothing explicit but they still had a hint of raciness in them. Overall, they were wanting in feeling.

This book was about a family of four sisters who are orphaned when their horse-mad father dies. He was a nobleman who was addicted to horses and racing, although he had the good sense to ensure they'd be cared for by the Duke of Holbrook, a horsey friend of his. At first, I was thoroughly confused by which sister was who. Who was the pretty one? Who was the oldest? Who was the mercenary one - who was in love with Lord Maitland? I just couldn't keep them straight, there seemed to be so many of them! After I settled into the book I got them straight, and I can't say I liked any of them except Tess, who was the main heroine of this book.

The setting of this book centers on horse racing. All the men in the book are really into it and will do almost anything to get a good racehorse - including marrying. Each of the sisters has a horse for her dowry and naturally they are all great equestriennes themselves. I must admit, I'm not that interested in horseracing and Lord Maitland, one of the men that younger sister Imogen is madly in love with, is hopeless when it comes to horseracing - the worst of the lot. He has a one track mind and comes across as shallow a bit stupid. He was just annoying to me and I didn't have any sympanthy for him until the very end (I don't want to spoil it.) I felt sorry that Tess' sister, Imogen, was so in love with him.

I also had a problem with our hero, Lucius Felton. Good looking, blonde and rich as anything, I found him annoying because he kept on insisting he was incapable of feelings - well, maybe he was right! Why would someone want to read about an emotionless romance hero - we barely got inside his head so we could tell what he was really feeling. There wasn't enough to interest me. It's one thing for a Mr. Darcy to come across as someone who's emotions are always in check - but Pride and Prejudice is not a romance novel and we don't get Mr. Darcy's point of view in it either. In this book we do, but it was sadly lacking - sometimes he'd do something unexpected, but not until the end did he finally come to life and show some passion - but that was the point - he finally came around. It was just kind of dull getting to that point. And whatever happened to his valet? We see him in the beginning bemoaning the fact that his master is in a houseful of unmarried women on the marriage market, and then we never see or hear from him again. Not even much later in the story - I think he became a lost thread.

Tess, the eldest of the quartet, seems to be the only normal one of the lot and the only character I liked. She has a romantic streak in her and learns how to get her way with her husband eventually. Is she witty as the description above suggests? Maybe, but I don't recall any real indication of it. She's got a good head on her shoulders - though she has her lapses of reason. She seems to think she should marry Lord Mayne, even though the handsome Mr. Felton had asked her to marry him and she keeps kissing him (what is it with some of these nit-wit regency romance heroines who continue to kiss the men they don't want to marry?) I was so relieved when Lord Mayne ran off - sketchy about why he did, though we sort of get our answer at the very end of the book. Which reminds me, the ending really seemed to read as if it was just tacked on, kind of a family related, money doesn't buy happiness sort of thing. It ends satisfactorily - but it's not totally resolved and the epilogue is predictable. Mr. Felton still has his family problems and Tess' sisters are still up in the air - leaving room for the sequels - of which I have no interest in reading.

Another little gripe I have is that I felt this book was disjointed - there were so many different characters and their little plotlines going on, some of became lost threads - Tess and Felton, Tess and Mayne, the Duke and Maitland's mother, Imogen and Maitland, young Josie, the youngest sister still in the schoolroom, Miss Pythian-Adams (Maitland's fiancee) and the fact she really doesn't want to marry Maitland - it was such a jumble - and not in a good way like a Shakespeare comedy (which I guess the Much Ado title is supposed to allude to.)

I didn't dislike this book, but I felt it was a waste of my time. There are much better regency romances out there than to read this disjointed, dull and passionless *code for not enough sex* romance novel. Much ado? Hardly.


No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails