The Week: 24th – 30th July

Monday sunshine in Canberra

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the Thredbo landslide. I remember the aftermath of the disaster very clearly, and all the media attention surrounding it. Because people tend to pass through Canberra to get to the Snowy Mountains, it had quite an impact around here.

My review of A Ring for the Pregnant Debutante by Laura Martin

A Repost

This Book!

Cover Love

A Ring for the Pregnant Debutante by Laura Martin

A Ring for the Pregnant Debutante by Laura Martin

Rosa Rothwell knows her pregnancy is scandalous. She will do anything to protect her baby, even staging a daring escape from her family’s Italian home. Rosa has no idea what the future holds–until a handsome but infuriating stranger offers his help.

Convinced his family is cursed, Lord Hunter believes he’s far better off alone. But the pregnant debutante’s sweet nature touches him deeply. Can he confront his demons at last, and give them both a new future…as husband and wife?

A Ring for the Pregnant Debutante by Laura Martin

I chose this book to review because Venice is on the cover, and I spent a month there earlier this year. Though a little over half the book takes place in Italy, the page time devoted to Venice is pretty brief.

A Ring for the Pregnant Debutante is a mixed bag, and in some ways (e.g. the naïve heroine and the high drama) makes this book seem like it was written a few decades ago. The structure of the story was too messy for me, with town, city AND country-hopping nonstop and a population of redundant characters disappearing before they seemed to serve a purpose.

I did like that there was some adventure, and that the author came up with some interesting places for her characters to travel to.

However, the pacing was strange, with big jumps in time, too many short scenes packed into each chapter, and a heroine who had a real talent for falling into TSTL situations involving all kinds of criminals and life-threatening dramas.

I don’t like it when historical fiction gives you no context. Judging by the technology (or lack thereof), transport options, and references to clothing, I’m placing this as a Regency-era read (1811-20), but you have to take a guess. What I know for certain is that the characters were more than a century away from the traffic bridge from mainland Italy to Venice being built; how did they arrive in horse-drawn carriages? Even *today* it takes about an hour to get there on a boat. No horse-drawn carriage was crossing that much sea two centuries ago!

Characters appear and disappear from the story – never to be seen again –just to introduce more dramatics and to push the plot ahead. And so many of those characters are stereotypes (especially the Italians, and the women in general); everyone was either evil or saintly.

There’re even a few characters discussed who never make it onto the page. They should have been edited out to give the plot a bit more clarity.

The time-jumps add to the confusion. Each chapter is made up of lots of little scenes, sometimes taking the story ahead weeks without any warning (or paragraph breaks!). At one particularly awkward point, we went from a sex scene to meeting the heroine’s father without any indication time had moved on.

When hero and heroine became victims of a shipwreck and conveniently – and immediately – wash up at their house even though they weren’t meant to be sailing to that location, I couldn’t suspend my disbelief anymore.

It is around this time the professions of love between the two leads begin, even though the heroine has spent more than a month travelling with the hero without saying a word to him. She’s angry with him, but this grudge doesn’t even seem *possible* to me, and certainly shouldn’t be the prelude to undying adoration.

What started out seeming like a great read quickly became confusing, overpopulated, and jumping from one massive drama to another without giving the characters a chance to recover.

A quick look through reviews of the author’s other books give the impression this is standard (even down to shipwrecks and sprained ankles being favourite plot devices). Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be giving Martin’s work a second chance.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Books for the Weekend

It’s already Saturday here in Australia. Below is my weekend “homework” – my review book reads for the weekend!

Border patrol agent Desmond Jackson would gladly take a bullet for his partner. Instead, it’s Detroit border patrol agent Sherri Lopez who ends up wounded in a drug raid…then blindsided by a shocking diagnosis.

The woman Dez secretly loves is a warrior now in a fight for her life. Strong and independent, Sherri won’t let anything defeat her–or let herself rely on Dez. Doesn’t she realise how good they are together? All Dez knows is he can’t lose her…or the friendship that’s slowly evolving into something even more precious.

(Chose this ARC because Venice is on the cover, and I was just there for a month.)

Rosa Rothwell knows her pregnancy is scandalous. She will do anything to protect her baby, even staging a daring escape from her family’s Italian home. Rosa has no idea what the future holds–until a handsome but infuriating stranger offers his help.

Convinced his family is cursed, Lord Hunter believes he’s far better off alone. But the pregnant debutante’s sweet nature touches him deeply. Can he confront his demons at last, and give them both a new future…as husband and wife?

(Is it just me, or does this book have an overly long blurb?!)

Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she’s been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she’s good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake’s younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realises that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can’t understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake’s arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. It isn’t until Lucas reveals to Emma that he was adopted into the Hampton family that she begins to understand his loyalty to Blake as well as his devotion to the child April-she is Lucas’s biological niece.

Emma opens up to Lucas about the feelings of abandonment she has harbored ever since she was a child and her mother left the family. As she helps Lucas deal with his past demons, she is able to exorcise some of her own.

Realising that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it’s time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it’s time for him to love her back.