Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review - The Inconvenient Duchess

For some, inexplicable reason, Love Will Find A Way by Barbara Freethy has been at the top of the free bestseller list since Wednesday, so instead of choosing the top book I went with the second book, which at the time was The Inconvenient Duchess, by Christine Merrill.
I just finished reading, and I must say that for starters I am very disappointed that this book doesn't answer the one burning question that I had before I even cracked open the (digital) cover.
Why is this duchess inconvenient?  Is she, I dunno, calling at a bad time?  Right in the middle of dinner, maybe, duchessing around?  The world may never know, because I sure as hell didn't find out, and I read the whole thing.
Anyway.  I was going to start out the same way I always do, when I say that a book wasn't that bad and was actually very readable and then go into detail about everything that seperates a book of this caliber from actual good literature, but one of my biggest pet peeves about these books comes from their formulas, and if there's one thing I don't want to do it's get stuck in a rut.  You know it's formulaic as well as I do - it's commercial romance.  That's the reason these things get read, because it's mostly like reading the same book over and over again except the words are different every time.
It's magic!
So what I'm going to do instead is this: I'm just going to say that I liked the protagonists.
Crazy, huh?  Tell me about it.
I liked that she seemed rational.  I liked the fact that she and her husband actually discussed their issues (mostly) instead of sidestepping them and creating false drama when if they just took thirty seconds to explain things the whole relationship could be salvaged.  I liked that she wasn't a perfect, wonderful human being, either.  There were a couple of moments when she's shown to maybe be artificially propped up (she gets grudging respect from the maids because she knows about cleaning solutions, she's worried about a ball when everyone loves her anyway), but not many, and I understand that the formula prohibits too much deviation from the mean, so in this case I'll let it slide because I'm in a good mood tonight.
The husband, too, was a rational character.  Instead of leaving the mystery of her origins to languish in the backs of our minds until the dramatic reveal, he finds them out as soon as humanly possible, and by the time the blackmail of the younger brother that in a lesser novel would tear them apart comes to fruition, he not only already knows about the issues but has solved them.  Their relationship is a good one, and a solid one, and I liked it.
There are other issues, there always are in any novel, but I won't touch on them here, not tonight.  Read any other review that I've written about a romance novel and I'm sure you'll find echoes of everything I dislike about the genre.  They're always just a bit too surreal for me, too happy go lucky.  But then again, I'm just a bitter old woman.  Not really.  What am I talking about?
Oh, the book.  Right.  Not a bad one, and one that I probably enjoyed more than a lot of the other free bestsellers I've read so far on Amazon.  Not, you know, wonderful, and the sex scenes were pretty bleh (I like 'em hot) but not a bad book, overall.  In fact I would even go so far as to say that it was remarkably decent.  How's that for an backhanded compliment?

Oh!  The next book.  The next book that I'm going to be reading is, as of this writing, In The Blood: A Geneological Crime Mystery #1, by Jefferson Tayte.  Oh, geneology.  Is that a genre now, too?  What the heck and under what rock have I been living?  See you on Wednesday for the review!

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