Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Another Imitator Fails To Live Up to GH (But We Don't Fault Her For Trying :))

(A note - I know I've said before that I'm behind, but now I'm really behind :) Going to do my best to review this in any case, mai oui :))

So what came next in my spate of kindle literature? Well this one actually came both before and after the Wodehouse.  Backstory - as you may know, one of my sources of new reading material is austenprose, though those books tend to be Austen paraliterature of course.  This year they are featuring a year-long reading group of the Regency novels of Candice Hern.  Now I had never heard of her, but I assumed that if she was being featured, she was probably not a typical Regency romance (that is, bodice-ripper (sorry for the slightly risque term, I did not originate it :))) writer.  And indeed, on looking her up, I found that she has a set of typical romances and then she has the ones being featured on austenprose, more "traditional".  So Regency romance, but clean? Certainly worth a shot.  Especially when I found that her books cost a mere $2.99 per piece, and 3 for $7.99 (kindle books are usually more like $9.99).

I started with the one listed first on her website, A Garden Folly (well actually I started with the free short story, which was very silly, but pretty much as expected and good enough to keep going).  Cannot say my expectations were high, but I have to say, they were definitely met, and possibly exceeded.  Don't get me wrong, the writing/characterization/plot were all nothing to write home about, but they weren't cringe-worthy either.  Characters were I think mostly fairly believable/close enough to Regency (that is, GH :)) standards, and the plot was entertaining (though it ran out of steam somewhere along the way).  The writing reminded me of something, maybe Julia Quinn, which isn't a bad thing I would say.  All in all, I'd say I was pleasantly surprised.

So naturally I moved on with the sequel, which I think is called A Matter of Expectations (or something similar - I'll look it up now and verify :) ... nope it's called The Best Intentions (not sure where I got that first title :)) I'd say I was slightly disappointed, mostly because my expectations were higher.  I can't remember why I liked this one less, but I definitely did.  I think I found it slightly more boring - I just didn't like the plot as much (that would make sense, as it involves a widower... children are just boring :) (well in romance novels where they are never potrayed well they're invariably boring anyway)) Other than that, I'd say the writing was of the same caliber - nothing to write home about but I wouldn't say cringe-worthy either.

That was all encouraging enough to move on to the Regency Rakes trilogy, which was available as a set for $7.99 (nice and cheap :)) And here's where things fell off.  The writing was substantially worse (more abrupt, overly dramatic, long-winded, you name it) than in the first two.  And the stories mostly ran out of steam far too early.  I really don't think I had any enjoyment of the romance at all - certainly no heart-squeezing moments.  Mostly just chugging along.  And I think the characters themselves were more stock, slightly more boring - though that might have just been me getting bored.  It's possibly I would have enjoyed these more if I started with them - but I'm pretty sure I would have been just as unimpressed.

There's still one more left to go, and maybe I'll get to it eventually (since this is definitely easy reading and that's pretty much what I want on the kindle).  But I can't say I'm very excited by the whole series.  Still, clean Regency romance? Something we can use more of, even in mediocre doses.

Verdict: 2.5/5 (being kind b/c it's a favorite genre :))

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