- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Zebra Books (Sep 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0821766627
- ISBN-13: 978-0821766620
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.6 x 2.5 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,328,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Pull out the prozac...you'll need it to get through this depressing tale.
Beau St. James is a man of means with one serious problem: his seventeen-year-old daughter Katherine is constantly doing impetuous, foolhardy things that have succeeded in jeopardizing her reputation. When Katherine is caught posing nude for a London sculptor, Beau is determined to do anything to keep the gossip from being spread, including succumbing to Sir John Rapsville's blackmail scheme. According to Sir John, if Beau wishes to keep Katherine's name intact, then as his attorney, he demands that Beau get him the deed to "Solitude", a tiny country cottage that he has made numerous attempts to buy from its spinster owner to no avail. The reason Sir John wants it? To ensconce his mistress there for easy access.
Hannah Whitechurch is an artist responsible for the care of her two younger sisters. Finances have been tight as of late, with her watercolors not selling as they should. Nevertheless, Hannah refuses to sell her beloved home "Solitude" to the handsome Beau St. James, as it is the only thing in her life she can claim as her very own. Hannah is attracted to Beau from the onset, but because she's afraid of that attraction, she does all in her power to keep him at arm's length. Will Beau be able to break through the hardened exterior of the woman he has fallen in love with and make her realize she loves him back?
Unfortunately, as previously stated, Hannah's coat of armor is not dissembled until the last two pages of the book. It's a sad state of affairs in a romance novel when, as the reader, you start wishing the hero would give up and look to another heroine for his heart's desire. Quite frankly, after about a hundred or so pages into the book, you are left wondering what it is that is so special about Hannah. Two hundred pages into the book, you're left wondering if Hannah has ever entertained a thought about anyone else's happiness but her own.
The worst aspect of the novel stems simply from the fact that it is depressing. There is little joy to be found in An English Rose. From killing off characters you come to care about to Beau's unrequited love throughout the whole of the read, this book leaves you with a sad, sunken feeling. Even at the end, when everything is supposedly all right between the hero and heroine, we are told little of it. The epilogue is devoted to the ridiculous cottage "Solitude" of all things, instead of used as most authors would to tell us that Beau and Hannah did indeed live happily-ever-after, buy a house with a white picket fence, and make a score of babies together.
An English Rose is well-written and once you get through the first half of it, it does manage to keep your attention, just not in a very upbeat way. Unless you enjoy reading harrowing sagas where little happiness is to be found, I would think twice before purchasing An English Rose.
-full review originally published in The Romance Reader
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