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Out of the sixteen books I have of LK's, this one has failed to sparkle
on 31 October 2009
I have sixteen books written by Liz Carlyle. She's one of my all time favourite mass market historical romance writers. But this book isn't up to her standards.
Liz Carlyle is one of my top historical romance writers because she doesn't just write smut, wrap it up in vintage clothing, genteel language and shroud it in candlelight. She usually has some grit and plot in there, some real characterisation and even the occasional splash of humour. Many of her books have recurring characters who either play a secondary role or just pop in to do a cameo.
This book lacks most of what makes Carlyle's books great for me. There is no plot. Not even a half hearted attempt at one. This is simply a book of star crossed lovers. There's no steamy undercurrent - at least not to the extent you'll find in other books by this author. And the cameo appearance of one of LC's other characters is rather an embarrassment. George Kemble, a character virtually every LC reader recognises and likes... is mentioned as 'doing a job' for the hero. Even at the end the reader doesn't quite 'get' why Kem was doing the job he was doing, and he never actually appears to explain it because if he had appeared in writing he would have made Liz clear everything up! No the George Kemble addition was rather like the paparazzi 'mentioning' that Johnny Depp was 'doing a job' for their paper but you kind of got the impression by the end that what he did was READ it! And the paparazzi just used his name to sell more papers! Huh??
The heroine, Zoe, is the now grown up illegitimate daughter of the Marquis of Rannoch (My False Heart) and has to betroth herself to her best male friend, Robert, when their heavy petting session is interrupted by his brother Stuart (the hero of this book) and his ex-mistress. All sorts of misunderstandings and conversations left unspoken are the bulk of the book until ultimately the hero and heroine realise they cannot live without each other... Rannoch's role in the book left him looking like a dithering, blustering old man rather than the larger than life, powerful, extremely physical man he was in My False Heart. It just didn't hang together...
This book isn't a total wast of money inasmuch as it is still well written when you compare it to the mass of historical romance books on the shelves of many high street bookstores today. But it in no way compares to any of LC's previous books. Whereas I have all of LC's other book on my bookshelf and one or another often comes back down off the shelf for me to read on train journeys etc. and there's even some I've been impressed enough with to include them in my two Listmania lists on Amazon... this one? Well, this one will be going to the local charity shop. Sorry, Liz.