James is steadily going down hill, in my estimation. The plot is non-existent, she pads so many romantic interludes into the so-called story, that it is nauseating. Sadly, she has lost her spark!
I rate this one no stars. I could not finish it, I was so bored.
My advice before you read my review (which is negative) is this: Perhaps it's just me. So my advise is to wait for the library book...then if you really like it, only then buy it.
Well, despite often liking James' books, despite their glaring or annoying flaws, I can't say I really liked this one much. In fact, I pretty much thought it dragged on and on and that Diana deserved a good slap - that James' just pushed the "I want to be independent no matter what the cost to me or my nephew" bit way too far, and that yes, she was acting like a spoiled toddler having a tantrum because of her monster mother and hurting those who loved her best...problem was she would realize that then realize it again, and again and again and again, never really learning... until I just wanted North to move on... (yes, that might be how some people act in real life...but I don't read these books to hear about 'real life'...I'm not a fan of books literary critics always say they love... I want fun adventures, witty characters, action...and not stupidity to the point where you don't give a damn about them anymore.)
Other issues, that increased my dislike. James again seemed to have this novel written by the committee, with little regard for fact or even what characters had already stated in a previous chapter. ex. North wanting to make Godfrey's grandparents pay for his upkeep, when a chapter earlier he'd been told they were dead. Or James again stealing a real person's heroics and giving the actions to North (when in fact, it really wasn't necessary to do so in the plot...the character was interesting without the hijacking). She at least acknowledged the real person in a short summary at the end, but I suspect, since she's done that more and more on later books, that it's more because she is likely taking a lot of flack for that sort of identity theft...or her publisher is...
Also, as best I know, 'infection' was not known back then...other historical writers are careful to not allow their characters to talk about cleaning a wound for fear of infection or disease... People didn't know what caused such illinesses, or even about keeping wounds clean or sterilized. Also, I don't believe it was allowed until this century for nobles to have the option of relinquishing their title i.e. "disclaim their title" in favor of the next in line (at least not in England) - and again, I've seen other established historical writers be very careful on that point.
Finally, the ending seemed too rushed given all the long overdone dragging in the middle of the story...it all seemed way too convenient and hurried, including the expected eloquent and timed outburst by Geofrey. You could see that one coming from the beginning.
All in all, I was very disappointed. It seemed the faults I often find with her work were there in full display, but were not balanced this time by a fun plot, sympathetic, witty, fun and likable heroine and a well-timed story. Her secondary characters were wonderful though - as was North, don't get me wrong.
I didn't love the first Wilde either, but I definitely liked it...though it wasn't a book I wanted to buy. This one tho', well, I"m glad I waited for a library copy. And I suspect there is another reason why the publisher and author are rushing the third Wilde novel out the same year as this one... I may not be alone in my criticism, despite professional reviewers that never say anything negative about a successful historical romance novelist (even one with a lit PhD who still doesn't seem to know or care about getting the historical bits correct).
But, again, everyone has different tastes. You may love the novel. I'm just recommending that you check out the library book before buying your own copy.
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