Thursday, January 8, 2015

Last Two Books of 2014: Anne Gracie / Elizabeth Chadwick

Miss Thalia Robinson, a destitute orphan, was fortunate that she had been allowed to look after her cousin Laetitia's three adorable children. Tallie usually spent her quiet life lost in daydreams, but the arrival of a house party to aid Magnus, Earl of d'Arenville, to find a wife, turned her world upside down.
Magnus's cold facade had been pierced by a delightful small girl, and now he'd decided he wanted children of his own. For that, he needed a wife. But things didn't go according to Laetitia's plan, for he ignored all the debutantes that were presented to him, and, taken with Tallie's loving treatment of the children in her charge, decided that she was the one he would marry...

Renard, Lord of the Ravenstow estate and Crusader knight returns from Antioch, but he does not
return alone. He brings with him a mistress, Olwen, a beautiful but untrustworthy dancing girl. Renard has returned home because of his father's ill health and imminent death. Also there is tension locally caused by the dispute over the succession to England's throne. He must also think about his arranged marriage to a nearby heiress. Though he is preoccupied with the political battles going on around him, Renard is pleasantly surprised by his new wife and soon becomes disenchanted with Olwen, his mistress. But her scheming poses danger not only to his marriage, but everything he owns. 

Comment: goes on and time doesn't stop....
These were the final stories I've read in 2014. They are both historicals, although different time periods. I've given them both the same grade because neither seemed to be as good as I expected based on the blurb's promise for one and previous experiences with the other.

Tallie's Knight is the story of a man who wants a wife after realizing he is at the perfect time to have children. He is rich and arrogant and asks a cousin to round up a bunch of proper ladies to pick one as his future wife. However, they all bore him and it isn't until his cousin poor relative rescues a child from an undeserved punishment that he manages to find the type of woman best suited to rear his own children. After a very cold proposal, everyone's lives change and with each new chapter, more adventure and lessons start to come forward...
I thought the blurb was quite promising but in reality the characters never engaged my attention to the point I couldn't wait to read more. Actually, I had to push myself to keep reading. The story line isn't new and had all the usual elements to make this a good historical, reticent heroines, arrogant heroes, bad villains, distressed children to be rescued, among several other things, but the way the story was developed didn't win me over either. I think it's a case of interesting possibilities getting lost among so many things, too many details. I think the point was to enrich the story, but to me it felt cluttered and the romance wasn't as amazing as that. All in all, not the best romantic story I've read... This was my first book by the author, so I might try another one in the future.
Grade: 5/10

The Leopard Unleashed is the story of a man who is fighting for his crown in Africa but returns because war is ahead in England and his father is very sick, so there's no time to loose. Despite an arranged marriage on his head as soon as he arrives, he still takes a mistress with him to his home. Things don't go as smoothly as expected, though, and personal issues are the least of his problems...but that doesn't last longer, for everything is connected and only true affections can guide the best intentions of someone in need to make choices. 
I've read the previous two stories in the sort of Wild Hunt trilogy in which this book is part of, and both of them were better than this one. The historical settings, customs and explanations are still as well structured and researched as one should expect from the author, but in this case, the fictional aspects weren't as fascinating or romantic as the other ones. In fact, I didn't like the hero much, nor his behavior towards his wife, his mother and even his mistress. I had some trouble being engrossed in the romance and it was a relief to finally finish. How sad, considering the level of the other stories in the trilogy. Nevertheless, I still believe in the author and will read more by her.
Grade: 5/10

1 comment:

  1. Chadwick is one of my all time favourite author but I agree with you on this one. Her later books are much more consistant.