Saturday, January 17, 2015

Carla Kelly - Miss Chartley's Guided Tour

To all appearances, Miss Omega Chartley is a schoolteacher on holiday. In fact she is a gentlewoman fallen on hard times, left at the altar eight years earlier and forced to make her own way in the world after the loss of her family fortune. Omega’s modest tour of England is cut short when she comes to the aid of a runaway. Jamie Clevenden has fled the clutches of a brutal uncle, and Omega is determined to help him escape the law, as represented by Bow Street Runner, Mr. Timothy Platter. 
Aided by a kindly war veteran and his adopted daughter, the two fugitives arrive at the home of Jamie’s other uncle, the Viscount of Byford—none other than Miss Chartley’s disgraced fiancé, Matthew Bering. 
There Miss Chartley will finally learn the secret that Lord Byford has hidden from her all these years, the story of a dark chapter in his past that stands in the way of not only their happiness but that of his nephew. Now they must face the truth together, no matter how dire the consequences. 

Comment: After reading four books by the author I became a fan. I like the writing and the style and I decided I'd get more books by her to read. I don't have them all, but I slowly got the ones I thought I'd enjoy the most. This title was one of them but I have to say, time did not pass here...

This is the story of Omega Chartley and how she plans to have a humble holiday before starting her new job. However, nothing goes as planned and she sees herself in a lot of misunderstandings and an adventure she never imagined which goes against the proper image other have of her.
While trying to help a young boy, Omega must face old issues, new adventures and the fact her own heart isn't as professional as she build it to be since a heartbreak eight long years ago...

This is one of the first books written by the author and it does show. The other works I've read by ms Kelly are more recent and comparing the style and structure, the differences are obvious. This book feels less refined than her other, newer books.
I think that, if I didn't know, this story could have been written by someone else while the other books share a sort of detail that I've came to associate with the author's style. I must say that, after being captivated by her more polished work, this older story leaves something to be desired.

Omega Chartley is a teacher, she belonged to a rich family but after her fiancé left her at the altar and her father's death, she didn't have anything else but work and along with her brother, all she had left in the world.
The beginning of the book did feel like a story by Carla Kelly, the setting up, the heroine with troubles and a less than desirable financial situation, the slow paced start, all this was very alike what I expected. Then Omega helps a boy, they later meet a young girl and a former soldier and I truly thought the story would be about the romance between them.
However, the plot wasn't meant to go that path. What came after was a mix of soap opera, adventure and clichés done in a way I never imagined this author would come up with.
Things started to become rather predictable, obvious and I lost most of my interest. I also think the slow polishing in the first half, more or less, of the novel stopped and after that everything changed completely in tone, voice and style.

I won't go into spoilers, but let's say the past caught up with the main characters, which I have to say, no longer captivated me. I wasn't disappointed because I did take into consideration the date, but after four amazing books, of course I thought this would be more of the same. It only serves to say time passes and like everyone else, authors also gain from experience and time.

I'm still interested in reading more and I will, but I'll try to be more realistic in my expectations of older titles. This one had many elements which would work out well and I'm convinced that written by the current ms Kelly, it would be better, but things are as they are and despite the promise and peeking into what might have been, I still can't say this was as special as that.
Grade: 5/10

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