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May meets none of the list's criteria, so why does his heart beat madly at the sight of the elegantly shabby miss? He is sorely tempted to toss his list and all that's right and proper into the fire to marry this most unsuitable lady….
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By Gillian on 03-25-14
If you're looking for Austen—
I must admit that, while I'm a fan, I only truly adore three, maybe four (sometimes Sense and Sensibility is okay, sometimes it's screechy) of Jane Austen's novels, but I do so love those. And after starting Pride and Prejudice again, I got a hankering for something that might be within the same vein.
What a disappointment this was. Clunky language, so many adverbs and adjectives to tell me EXACTLY what I needed to be feeling, rather clever writing (Don't tell me that she just did something passionately. Show me. Let me feel the heat. Please!) The characters are flat, and this is sad in that the secondary characters have some real life to them, real flaws, real charm, an authenticity in the way the connect with life. Wouldn't it be nice if the two very individuals we're supposed to care about had those things going for them? Instead, they have some written flaws that are easily overcome, never really get in the way. We never see them truly struggle for what they want. There's a lot of written mental confusion, but no real motivating angst. It's unsatisfying, and they're given no chance to shine. And the times they do connect, one remembers that, given the time period, these things are impossible. It makes for tawdriness instead of a simmering passion.
I admit, I'm not a regular reader of romance novels so what do I know? But this just seemed too much like it was written with a formula in mind, with scenes already mapped out, and the characters were an afterthought and they were simply plugged in.
Plus, the last straw: All this takes place in Bath? In England? Perhaps a British narrator would've helped. But the narrator was what appeared to be the last in a long list of afterthoughts.
For a charming romance, how about trying "Stay," by Allie Larkin? It's contemporary, but "The Marriage List" has about as much historical charm as wilted and yellowed lace. You know it's supposed to be old, but it's just plain ugly...
3 of 3 people found this review helpful