REVIEW: A Gentleman Says “I Do” by Amelia GreySaturday, August 25, 2012 1:00
LynneC’s review of A Gentleman Says “I Do” (Rogues’ Dynasty, Book 5) by Amelia Grey
Historical Romance published by Sourcebooks Casablanca 1 May 12
When I was halfway through the first chapter, I realized what this book reminded me of. I sometimes critique stories on a list, and this was definitely the kind I would have said “nearly but not quite ready” to. It reads like the efforts of someone trying hard for publication but with some errors that needed attending to before it was ready for prime time. Telling, the non-standard use of commas, the static nature of much of the story, and the lack of history in what is purported to be a historical (something that is sadly the norm these days) made me give up on this book after just three chapters.
The story starts with a man visiting the house of a woman he’s never met before. Not only does she greet him personally and speak with him, she takes him into a room and closes the door. I believe this story is supposed to take part in the Regency, although I could be mistaken. Nothing in the text or the cover indicates the place, apart from a reference to Bonaparte, and he remained notorious for long after his death. But references in later chapters to the Prince and the King lead me to conclude – Regency.
So let’s take this one point at a time. History – there is precious little. Just the fact that the heroine met the hero privately would ruin her. He should think of her as a hoyden and take advantage of her, particularly from the lustful thoughts he’s having about her. Plenty of anachronisms larding the text: “frock” for dress (it was a gentleman’s country coat), a casual reference to “all the manor houses in London” (there is only one manor house in London), a coy reference to “the good brother and the bad brother” (substituting “brother” for “cop” doesn’t make it any less a cliché or jerking the reader painfully back to the present day), a reference to a cotillion as if it was an event like a ball rather than a dance. That’s only the first chapter.
Catalina receives Iverson (that’s a family name of mine, but I’ve never heard it used as a first name) on her own in her house. She has an eccentric aunt, who only turns up after she’s spent some time with him. That means she’s ruined. She receives him as if it’s normal for her to do so. Catalina seems to be received in society. She’s the daughter of a poet, and they’re received in society? Unless she is of high birth, and nothing in the section I read said anything about that, there is no way she’d be attending balls and “parties.”
I’m not sure what she makes of Iverson, who must cut a very strange figure in society. From the first sentence, I’m thrown by the reference to the lapels of his coat (no lapels in the Regency). Then this description of his appearance:
“Adonis in the flesh. Broad through the shoulders and chest, he’d worn a starched white shirt of fine lawn beneath a coat of the deepest shade of blue. His neckcloth was simple and tied into a casual bow. Thick brown hair was stylishly brushed away from his high brow and held in a queue at his nape with a strip of black, braided leather.”
Wow. No waistcoat, a neckcloth tied in a bow, and long hair tied back with leather? In the Regency? I know the Colonies were a bit behind the times, but fifty years? I bet people stopped in the street to point and laugh.
When she gave him a cake on the saucer that supported his cup, instead of on a separate, small plate, I knew she was a slut. Or no better than she should be (that is tongue in cheek, but really, who does that?).
“There was a small tart of some kind on the side of the saucer,” presumably served to him by the tart in the chair across from him.
There are some really annoying servants. The door is answered by a woman who answers back and is downright rude to Iverson. Then the servant who brings the tea stares at him like a loon, and I know we’re in for trouble, because the heroine tolerates them. No, just no. Amusing old retainers have to be really amusing to succeed. Jo Beverley managed it in a book I read years ago, but not here. The servants go way over amusing into creepy and annoying. And that is in the first three chapters. God knows what horrible servants lay ahead.
I knew going in this book was likely to be a wallpaper historical, but I braced myself for it. What I hadn’t expected is the clumsy and amateur writing style. The author frequently stops the action dead to discuss the way the characters are feeling. Insta-lust, basically, but there seems to be no reason for it. Lovely woman meets handsome man – bam! He wants to kiss her, she wants to throw her reputation away, what’s left of it after meeting him in a room with a closed door. The descriptions of lust are clichéd and general, not at all specific to this couple, and I don’t believe it for a minute. Presumably they go at it fairly soon in the book, and then keep going in between arguments and misunderstandings, but I didn’t read that far.
Perhaps the worst aspect is the distancing evoked by the “telling not showing” aspect. Instead of showing how the characters feel, the reader is told all the time. I want to be part of the scene, to share in the adventure, but I couldn’t, because I’m led by the nose and told what to think. This is only enhanced by the dizzying head-hops in the book. I’ve rarely read a book that switches point of view so much.
“Assuming she had gotten the better of him, at least for the time being, she relaxed her shoulders. Another hint of a smile played around the corners of her attractive mouth and Iverson found it very inviting.”
You have an abrupt, mid-paragraph point-of-view switch and telling all in one neat package. There’s the “g” word, as it’s known over here, using “gotten” in a historical, unless it’s in the mind of an American character (and while the strangely named Iverson is American, the POV is Catalina’s). And, my word, do these characters shrug and nod and smile and twitch. Sometimes in the same paragraph. My mental image of them was running riot at some points.
I honestly couldn’t read any further. This is a snooze of a book because there is nothing for the reader to latch on to. The nonstandard use of commas don’t help, such as, putting every phrase, in commas. It doesn’t make for a smooth read. And some strange choices, such as putting “slip of the tongue” in quotations marks in the narrative.
So all in all, not a book I was destined to enjoy, but I tried, honest I did.
Her Writing Talent is Causing All Kinds of Trouble…
The daughter of a famous writer, Catalina Crisp has helped her father publish a parody that makes Iverson Brentwood’s whole family the talk of the town, and not in a good way.
Because He’s the Reality Behind the Story…
Furious and threatening, Iverson storms into Catalina’s house, demanding satisfaction, but the infamous rake has finally met his match. With her cool demeanor and intense intelligence, Catalina heats his blood like no other woman in his notorious history…
No excerpt available.
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