Wednesday, April 18, 2018

TBR Challenge: Judith McNaught - Something Wonderful

The tempestuous marriage of Alexandra Lawrence, an innocent country girl, and Jordan Townsende, the rich and powerful Duke of Hawthorne, is about to face its ultimate test of tender loyalty. Swept into the endlessly fascinating world of London society, free-spirited Alexandra becomes ensnared in a tangled web of jealousy and revenge, stormy pride and overwhelming passion. But behind her husband's cold, arrogant mask, there lives a tender, vital, sensual man...the man Alexandra married. Now, she will fight for his very life...and the rapturous bond they alone can share.

Comment: It's time for another TBR Challenge post. This time the theme is Kicking It Old School, which means a book whose original publication date is older than 10 years. I could have picked one of many, many possible ones... I also have recent titles but older ones are quite plenty in my shelves as well. 
I picked this author, not only because this book was originally published in 1988 - which totally meets the theme criteria - even though my paperback edition is from 1990 - again, on theme - but also because I did read the first story in this Sequels trilogy and despite the dated plot, I enjoyed the book. Of course I wanted to get that feeling back with this one.

In this second Sequels story we meet duke Jordan Townsende, a man who has always seen how aristocrat couples don't trust each other, how society mocks those who do and his parents, being well known members of such society of course neglected him while having too high expectations. Jordan, as any rebel child would do, obviously imitates them in his wild and careless behavior, seducing women and living a carefree life.
In comes Alexandra Lawrence, a 10 years younger woman when comparing to Jordan but whose approach to life is completely different, she is optimistic, cheerful and trusts and cares for those around her. However, Alex has had her disappointments and sadness, especially when it comes to how she idealized her father as someone quite different from reality and he betrayed her love and trust. This hasn't changed Alex and when the opportunity arises to save Jordan, she does not caring about the repercussions.
Although, of course others noticed they spent time together in an inn but despite nothing having happened, they end up marrying. Now, can two different people be a match for one another?

I believe I must have sounded a little sarcastic back there while describing Jordan. But the reality is that it did annoy me a bit how he, the hero, is so much better in some things than everyone else, we are told he excelled in everything while growing up but he certainly didn't use his cleverness to see though society and its rules and simply be a better person on his own.
I can understand this need to make the hero someone who changes almost drastically to better evidence the reason why love conquers all but even accepting this 80s styled plots and details, it did annoy me a bit how he behaved.

Now that this out of my chest, I can say I did have fun reading this story. There are several passages which certainly are supposed to be angsty but I'm quite glad it's not something exaggerated. I liked Alexandra a lot and her antics were synonym of happiness and sweetness, something I liked seeing was affecting almost everyone around her. She wasn't totally childish but at the beginning she is a sort of sheltered 17 - despite her disappointment about her father - and I feared he wouldn't be a good match for Jordan. I liked the development of their relationship although, one must look at this book through a time lens.

There are some details which are timeless and the author has included some passage of time between the romance steps to make it more obvious time passed, the characters grew up (in Alexandra's case) or thought about their priorities (Jordan's) and the idea is that they changed a bit. But when the story starts Alex is only 17 and I must say some scenes were not easy to just accept even considering this is an historical and at the time girls had very different lives and maturity from nowadays' teenagers. Nothing bad happens but...ehh one can tell this is a story written in the past.

The plot isn't complicated, follows the usual expectations about people overcoming several tricky situations, finding out the other person isn't exactly as they are portrayed, they get to fall in love... I liked all these aspects of course, but at the same time, some scenes just felt so dramatic and didn't seem to suit the rest of the story. The last hurdle, closer to the end of the book which made the HEA being delayed some pages further...I mean, I see the potential but it was totally pointless in my POV.
The secondary characters fulfilled their roles, in some cases were key for the protagonists to shine but it's very clear they weren't that important save for the necessary interactions. Still, the story felt rich and detailed.

All in all, this was a positive read because despite my preference or lack of it for some elements, everything was set up quite well.
I hope the third book has some different notions but I don't have much hopes. As long as the story is engaging and shows a vivid picture, I guess I can't say I wasn't entertained.
Grade: 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment