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Nita Abrams is one of my favorite romance authors. She's local, too, which I didn't realize until now. I've liked every one of her books, even when they're flawed, and buy them as soon as they come out. This one, however, was a disappointment.

First, I winced at the cover, the first Abrams book with a clinch. Eww. Then I winced at the back blurb, which sounded...cliché.

Unfortunately, it was. The history was interesting, as it always is in Abrams' books; unfortunately, the characters just weren't. Nathan Meyer has been a secondary character in several of her previous books, and was interesting there, but here he's a combination of two stock characters: the world-weary Regency spy, and the intimidating head-of-family-of-previous-characters. I kind of have the impression that the author was in love with him herself, and forgot to show the reader what was lovable about him. He just seemed flat.

The heroine, Abigail Hart, was the Sensible Widow, and maybe something of a Mary Sue. I liked her a lot at first, but she just seemed too sensible, and not very real. It's a bad sign when I prefer the unconcluded romance of the younger, stupider characters: at least her daughter and his nephew showed some growth.

There are also some plot problems, the major one being the setup: how could Nathan's brother tried to set him up with a woman without knowing the scandal about her, while she several times muses about how the gossip had circumscribed her life? While in the past I've felt Abrams was fairly reasonable in her use of the Regency Spy trope, this one was just off. It'd be a spoiler to say why. And that's another issue: half the reason Nathan came off so poorly was that the reader doesn't know what the hell he's doing for much of the book, and when finally All is Revealed it's just too much.

I like the vivid detail, the smooth writing, the use of Jewish characters in a Regency setting, the history (Napoleon's escape from Elba), the secondary characters... I just don't like the plot. Or the romance.

That's a not lot to like. I'll probably still get her next book, but I would not recommend this one unless you're already fond of Abrams' series.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-22 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oracne.livejournal.com
I totally agree--also, there was practically no sex! And I know she's not known for lots of sex scenes, but I mean the sexual tension didn't seem to be there, either--the plotty fragments lying everywhere were too distracting, kept interrupting the central relationship.

It felt like she, as you said, knew too much about this story but wasn't showing us the right bits to make a good book. Also, it relied too much on our previous knowledge of Nathan, I thought.

I'll get the next one, too, and hope it's better. As I was reading this one, I imagined her having trouble writing it because the expectations of Nathan as a character were too high.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-23 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daedala.livejournal.com
Have you read her previous books? I liked them quite a bit.

You're right about the lack of tension. In fact, there just wasn't any tension at all, sexual or otherwise.

The relationship between Nathan and his servant was much more interesting.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-23 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oracne.livejournal.com
I've read all of her previous ones, some more than once. Hmmm, maybe this should've been a slash novel!

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-23 01:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daedala.livejournal.com
I was trying not to say that.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-03-23 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oracne.livejournal.com

[let your brain enter a Happy Place]

They ARE the closest relationship by far in that book.


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