Wednesday, 9 July 2014
#CBR6 Book 70: "Somewhere I'll Find You" by Lisa Kleypas
Rating: 1.5 stars
WARNING! This review WILL contain fairly specific plot spoilers, but it's an awful book, so you don't want to read it anyway, and should thank me for explaining in detail why you should avoid it.
Jessica Wentworth is probably the most successful actress in London, but she's hiding a deep dark secret. Her real name is Julia Hargate and she's been married to the Marquess of Savage since they were both children. Julia ran away from home and has been disowned, she only wants her independence and to become famous on the stage. Her husband, Damon, Lord Savage (yeah, I can't even begin about that name) has been searching for her for years, eager to obtain an annulment. With the dowry his family got from the arrangement, the sensible and super-serious Lord Savage has restored the family fortunes that his wastrel father gambled away, fixed up the family estate and in general, he's the responsible brother, whilst his younger brother takes after dear ol' dad.
By happy coincidence, because this is clearly that sort of book, Damon and Julia have actually met once, in passing at a country fair, but didn't know each other's true identities. After invading Julia's personal space, Damon kisses her, then they part ways again, until they meet again at a party, three years later. Damon, ever the arrogant alpha douchebag, recognizes the girl he kissed and promises Julia's employer, the theatre owner, 5000 pounds if she'll come to dinner with him - all platonic like. He already has a very demanding mistress, but wants to woo the famous Mrs. Wentworth. It doesn't take many days before he discovers that the most celebrated actress on the London stage is his long lost wife, and suddenly, Damon's no longer all that keen on an annulment. Julia, on the other hand, seems to have a terrible time figuring out what she really wants, pushing him away one second and falling into his arms the next, asking him to ravish her.
She doesn't want to give up her career, and he acts like a possessive bastard and tries to control her every move. He wants her to take her rightful place as his soon to be duchess. They both seem to fall in love after three short encounters, but still act absolutely appallingly to one another. There's a whole bunch of not really complications thrown in their way.
This book was so dumb, you guys. It's without a shadow of a doubt the worst romance I've read since Edenbrooke, which is the worst book I read in 2012 and among the worst romances I've ever had the misfortunes of reading. Still, this book fit into my Monthly Keyword Challenge and allowed me to cross another Lisa Kleypas book off my TBR list. I kept hoping that it was going to get better, because Lisa Kleypas is after all, one of the grand masters of romance, and it baffled me that something this boring and dumb was written by the same woman who wrote Tempt Me at Twilight, Devil in Winter and Dreaming of You. The info-dumping in the first few chapters is extremely heavy-handed, the characterisation of EVERY single person in the book is so lazy - most of the principal cast have only one or two significant character traits, if that.
I'm not sure on what basis Julia and Damon fall in love, except that they are both described as very physically attractive, and they were forced into a probably extremely illegal marriage alliance by their unscrupulous fathers while they were still children. This is apparently enough that they love each other after a few meetings, and Julia goes from telling Damon to leave her alone forever to throwing herself into his arms and asking him to deflower her because she "doesn't want to be alone anymore" the next. Like in the same scene, I swear. She changes her mind completely from one second to the next.
When Damon discovers that Julia has reconciled with her father and got the means to have their marriage annulled, and decided that she's going to marry her boss in a platonic marriage of convenience to further both their careers (don't ask, it's just one of the myriad oh so dumb things in this book), his way of winning her back is to get thugs to kidnap her from back stage, bind and gag her and bring her to his carriage. Because nothing says "I love you, don't marry that other guy" like forced abduction and coercion. They're both such wretched characters that I couldn't even care.
The only reason this book is getting half a star more than Edenbrooke is that at least the writing was vaguely competent in certain parts, and at no point did characters start to fight a duel inside a crowded inn! Not even rabid Kleypas-completeists should read this book. It'll only make you sad. It's a bad, dumb book and it is a waste of your time. Trust me here.
Crossposted on Cannonball Read.