Monday, April 12, 2004

All about Trashy Reading

Seems all I do lately is read trashy novels. Here's a list of the latest. Good news though, I'm reading Patricia Cornwell's "Blowfly" which is only slightly trashy! And brings my quest for reading 50 books in 2004 to 16 books read, 34 more to go!

"Chesapeake Blue"
by Nora Roberts

From Library Journal
After a five-year absence, Seth Quinn has returned home from Europe a world-renowned artist. He's ready to settle down in the same picturesque town on the Bay where the three step-brothers who raised him now live. Soon, Seth meets beautiful, independent Druscilla "Dru" Whitcomb Banks and falls in love with her almost immediately. Life takes on an idyllic glow until someone from his past begins blackmailing him again. Roberts, a best-selling author and the recipient of countless honors, including numerous RITAs as well as the Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award, has once again crafted a poignant and often humorous tale. True to style, she has also thrown in just enough of the paranormal to tantalize. Guaranteed to please the many fans who were waiting for Seth's story, this sequel to the original trilogy (Sea Swept, Rising Tides, Inner Harbor) is also an excellent stand-alone title.

"The Bachelor List"
by Jane Feather

om Publishers Weekly
Set in London in 1906, Feather's latest (after Venus) touches on a topic that is near and dear to many romance readers' hearts-women's right to vote. Constance Duncan, the eldest of three headstrong sisters, throws down the gauntlet to handsome member of Parliament Max Ensor when she declares that women's suffrage is the driving force of her existence. In return, Max makes no bones of his opinion that women shouldn't vote, a stance firmly backed by his powerful friends. When Max and Constance's prickly verbal battles flare into hotly sexual encounters, both seize the chance to do behind the scenes (or beneath the covers) scouting for their respective parties, even as they wonder what falling in love with the enemy will do to their careers. Though Feather's story stumbles out of the starting gate, it hits a smooth roll when the couple's duels ignite. Constance's sneaky maneuverings, however, undermine her credibility, and the sisters' tendency to think that women who don't demand the vote are merely mindless sheep makes them seem shallow rather than sympathetic. All in all, Feather's attempt to illuminate women's struggles in early 20th-century London is laudable, but many readers will end this tale with doubts that the protagonists' happy ending will be everlasting.

"The Bride Hunt"
by Jane Feather

From Publishers Weekly
The second entry in Feather's Matchmaker trilogy (following The Bachelor List) is a charming romp through 19th-century London featuring the Duncan sisters, who are trying to hold their family together financially by running a matchmaking service and producing the suffragist scandal sheet The Mayfair Lady. When the paper is sued for libel, Prudence Duncan enlists the help of fierce barrister Sir Gideon Malvern. Gideon is convinced their case is hopeless, but he can't deny the attraction he feels for stubborn, strong-willed Prue. Because she can't afford his fees, Gideon agrees to argue the case if she finds him a suitable bride, but before long, Gideon finds himself as involved with Prue as he is with the Mayfair Lady case. Readers may be surprised by the setting, which is unusual for historical romances; here the automobile and the telephone have already been invented. One amusing scene centers on a drive to the country, which takes three hours in Gideon's car (moving at its top speed of 20 miles an hour). Though this is Prue's story, both Constance and Chastity ably carry their portions of the novel, which will ensure that readers snap up the other two books in the series (each focusing on a sister and conveniently appearing in consecutive months).

"The Wedding Game"
by Jane Feather

From Publishers Weekly
Set in London during a time when traditionalism started giving way to modernization and suffragists challenged the status quo, this final installment in Feather's Matchmaker trilogy (The Bride Hunt, etc.) follows the nosy, righteous and sometimes self-righteous Duncan sisters as they tackle their toughest challenge yet—finding a wealthy, well-connected wife for a doctor who wants nothing to do with love. Douglas Farrell's businesslike approach to marriage immediately sets Chastity Duncan's teeth on edge, but as one of the secret owners of the suffragist scandal sheet The Mayfair Lady, to which Douglas has applied for matrimonial aid, she can't let her emotions cloud her business dealings. So Chastity finds the good doctor exactly what he has asked for. He soon realizes that he'd rather have Chastity, though. Douglas has a noble reason for seeking a marriage of convenience—he intends to use his spouse's money to set up a clinic in a city slum—but his haughty attitude toward aristocrats (who, he automatically assumes, care nothing for the poor) is off-putting. The book's conflict stems from a minor misunderstanding, and many of the goings-on are merely padding. But the primary romance, while lacking in passion and drama, holds enough charm to keep readers engaged.