Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tangent Proves Worthy

And now, the first of my new library books.. it's boring I'm afraid :) Moving on the Pink Carnation series with #11, The Mark of  the Midnight Manzanilla.  If you recall, I did not enjoy #10 (book from my inaugural trip to the library), but wasn't sure how much of it was due to the protaganist (Miss Gwen) as opposed to a general descent in the series or to my own changing tastes. So this was a good opportunity to test which one it was.  #11 is about Sally Fitzhugh, quite a minor character in previous novels, and the Duke of Belliston, non-existent before this book.  Clean slate, as it were.

Sally reminds me a lot of previous heroines - practical, somewhat naive, valient, loyal, friendly - shades of Henrietta, Letty, Arabella etc.  Belliston is a brooding mystery man, in the mold of Lord Vaughn, Andre Joeun, and Colin himself.  So even more than with some of the previous books, there was a feeling of deja vu / been-there-done-that at the start.  But that being said, Sally is beautiful, confident, and unredoubtable.  Lucien, while he is withdrawn and mysterious, does not have the cold hauteur of Lord Vaughan, but an open and friendly personality once you "get to know him".  In other words, likeable, relatable hero and heroine.

The story is the usual - spies, murders, lots going on outside of the romance.  But fast-paced enough, taking place within the confines of London and aristocratic country society, involving a fake engagement, so nothing to complain about.  The romance not bad either... though honestly, these books are not actually the greatest romances - very little angst, and not enough suspense.  But a solid enough love story, definitely.   And, in some definite praise - 1) started reading the car on the way down to Maryland and enjoyed enough to get me quite a way through by the time we got there 2) disappointed by the Kerry Jennings Walsh loss in the semifinals, consoled myself by finishing the book before I went to sleep.  So I can say that I absolutely enjoyed this one.

So.. conclusion? My dissatisfaction with the last book, probably mostly due to Miss Gwen rather than to a general decline in the series.  Change in taste definitely still somewhat there, but not enough so that I didn't enjoy a generic PC with a generic heroine.  Older, prickly leading ladies just not to my taste. What a snob am I.

Meanwhile, liked this book and certainly looking forward to #12, Jaaaane herself.  Will be somewhat funny to pick up the main thread of the series after this book was a complete tangent, but I have hope that Jane's story will be worth all the spy stuff.

Verdict: 4/5

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