Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Great Form, Lacking Substance

Way back when, I started Clare Darcy's regency trilogy (or actually just 3 books published together).  At that point, I wanted to review all three at once, but by the time I finished the first, I had higher priority books in the wings, so I just stopped and review the first.  I have made it back to the low priority pile, for the time being anyway, and I finished the second one today.  Just as I thought, there's not much to say about this one that I haven't already said about the first, but that's what I got myself into by reviewing after  only finishing one...

So, recapitulate (actually, I just assume this is pretty much what I wrote, I didn't reread the other post, naturellement) Clare Darcy is remarkable for her uncanny ability to imitate Georgette Heyer.  Right away, I am sucked in by the familiar cadences - the nineteenth century cant, the lifestyle of Regency gentility... it's there, and in a quite delicately copied fashion.  This particular story, Georgina, was an ode to Venetia -  girl is an isolated town falls in love with a known rogue... and there's a young suitor, a crippled young companion, and some other similarities that make me wonder if CD was at all embarrassed by how much she ripped off.  It's so obvious, I almost think she meant it as an homage.  But homage or not, it is of course not Georgette Heyer.  The characters are less believable, the plot more boring... And in this particular case, GH's signature snobbery was just not there in force.  The guy is... well I suppose he *is* nobly born... in a manner of speaking (he's a bastard).  And all that talk about money... whew! You know only the mushrooms care that much!   Then there's the romance itself, which so disappointingly executed. Georgina figures out quite soon that he loves her, and despite some waffling that seems a bit forced, we and she never really doubt it afterwards.  And where's the fun in that?! And nothing less lack of fun like a poor hero and wealthier heroine.  Where are those principles of GH we can rely on? Gentlemen, with some respectable source of income... who can hide their love from their beloved just a little bit better...

But again, why complain about how CD isn't GH? Of course she's not GH.  So judging the book on its own merits, the romance isn't perfectly executed, but she certainly tries, which is more than I can say for most books.  The writing isn't bad at all, I didn't find it grating.  But overall... well overall the book was just boring.  I don't know, it just didn't move.  I'm not even sure why I found it this way, but perhaps I was picking up on the author's central focus - an "authentic" Regency novel, not necessarily a good story.

Verdict: 2.85/5

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