Well I finally did it - almost 4 years after my last trip to the library (August 2012), I put my kiddos in the car and drove the (very short) drive (could have walked but then would have had to deal with the stroller) to the Edison library. Excitingly enough, this library is less than a 10 minute walk from the house, and right near the train station where I come/go every day, but it took me this long to get there (and I lived for over a year in Carteret without ever taking a book out there (used the Manhattan library though) and in HP without even getting a library card, but anyway). So what was my first pick? Lauren Willig of course. I think I even wrote on an FB post on her page once that it would be. How embarrassing :) I didn’t have much browsing time, I got one more book (more anon of course), but let’s just focus on Willig first.
So as you know ;), I’ve been reading these books for a long time. They are favorites of mine because they are regency romance but not the romance genre (have more literary pretensions). They are also of the historical mystery/drama genre, but less so than, say, Deanna Raybourn or Tasha Alexander. Anyway, Regency, romance, not trash, and nice and light. What’s not to like, of course. So yeah I do like these books. In recent years (well not that recent), I have noticed a “sameness” about them, and also somewhat liberal anachronism and silliness, so I can’t say I find them *that* well-written, but you know, they are pretty good. Neat enough phrasing, if a bit too pat. So that’s in the past few years. (I have read her books since I stopped going to the library, since I own two of them, so it’s not going back all that far necessarily. You’ll have to read old reviews to see how far it does go back ;). On top of this recent impression, and really more along with it, I think I have less tolerance for empty romance than I used to - I need something more in a book than an implausible romance and less-than-mediocre writing. Not saying that describes Pink Carnation books, just that my tastes have changed (matured, perhaps :)) in that respect.
So anyway, back to this particular book, it’s about Miss Gwen (I was, by the way, 3 books behind in the series, as well as not having read the 3 non-Pink books written in recent years, so quite a lot of material :) This was the least recent of the series books.) Miss Gwen is Jane’s companion, a lady of mature years and prickly demeanor. So not the most endearing of characters, at least as the heroine of a romance. The book is supposed to show her softer side, but I’m not sure I want to see her softer side. I liked her as the steely chaperone Miss Gwen, more ambivalent about “Gwen”. The Captain is a debonair and likable figure, but I’m not sure I buy the romance. It’s not forced or anything, just rather… shallow? Here’s where I’m not sure if I’m just picking up on the “sameness” thing (so boring because same), if the books have gotten worse, if my tolerance is lower, or if I really just don’t like seeing Miss Gwen’s softer side. Here’s hoping it’s the last, since I like being able to thoroughly enjoy my books.
Not that I didn’t enjoy the book. It was light reading, which I never mind. It had romance, it had some action, I guess a few laughs. It had characters I care about and the setting I love. So can’t really complain, and look for reviews of the last two books of the series shortly :)