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Hero had Great Possibilities, However, He Turned out Grumpy and Cynical
on 19 July 2014
After reading "An Inconvenient Ward," I immediately decided to read "An Inconvenient Wife" and thought this book took off like a charm but fell flat about 1/4th of the way into the storyline. When we find Lord Halkyn in a less than respectable house with a young woman asking him to kiss her so that she can "hide" from the bad guys, he complies and soon finds himself in way over his head. Our not-quite-18-years-of-age little heroine, Charlotte Webster, fresh out of the classroom, had apparently fallen for one of the staff at her school, thought they would be married, never realizing he was working for a debauched baron who kept a house of ill repute a few miles out of London. Voila, she is deceived, kidnapped and winds up in a brothel where she runs into Stephen Halkyn.
Halkyn, who we met in "An Inconvenient Ward" was originally introduced to the reader as a potential marriage candidate for Elizabeth. Apparently, his reputation is less than stellar and he frequents bawdy houses, etc. But he would never go along with kidnapping and once he finds out why Charlotte was in the brothel, agrees to help her escape. Where to take her? - to Elizabeth's and Michael's of course, so we do have the advantage of seeing how our H/h from the first book are doing and that was cool.
Although both Stephen and Charlotte had some interesting attributes, in my opinion, some parts of the dialogue and the storyline were somewhat flat. **Spoilers follow** When Charlotte was kidnapped toward the last 1/4 of the book and shoved out of the carriage, it was literally unbelievable to me that everyone decided they would stay put at Michael's and Elizabeth's home and send only the Bow Street Runner to try and find out what happened to her. Hello? What kind of hero stays behind when the only evidence of Charlotte's fall from the carriage is a boulder with blood on it - no body, just blood. I don't think so. This was a real weakness in the storyline. Also, Stephen's continual grumpiness and cynicism didn't do anything to make him likeable.
Lastly, a note to Ms. Harrison and/or her editor: Someone needs to correct the usage of the word "gentile." I believe the intended word is - "genteel" - a "gentile" is a person who is not Jewish. A glaring mistake and if memory serves, this term was also used in "An Inconvenient Ward."