GOD DAMN IT!
When will I learn with Suzanne Enoch? WHEN? It always goes so well and then falls apart.
This was published less than 10 years ago and yet with 1970s Maid of Honour dress.
The conceit of this historical romance series is that three friends decide that men need to be taught “lessons in love”, or, more precisely, how to conduct oneself as a gentleman and a decent human being.
Tristan Carroway, Viscount Dare, and Lady Georgiana Halley met when he was 24 and she was 18. They were mad for each other. He was young and stupid, so he participated in a silly wager regarding her virtue and broke her heart into a thousand tiny pieces. Despite completing the task *wink*, Tristan kept quiet and protected Georgie’s reputation, but he has regretted his actions as much as, if not more than, Gilbert Blythe did for calling Anne, “Carrots.”
Fast forward 6 years and Georgie is still furious (in a love/hate way) and decides to teach Tristan a lesson. Thence things proceed in an orderly fashion towards a happy ending until the book comes to a screeching halt and derails. It was all going so well. It was romantic and fun. Then Enoch painted herself into a corner and blam! the book ends happily, but with a scandal of truly epic proportions hanging over Tristan and Georgie’s heads, and with me wondering WHEN will I ever learn about Enoch.
Tristan has been added to my favourites list. He’s charming, rakish, and sincere. I shan’t blame him for Enoch’s storytelling shortcomings. Georgie is delightful as well. They have chemistry and snappy banter that leaps off the page. Tristan’s four brothers (Bradshaw, Robert, Edward, and Runt) feature as supporting characters and are set up well for their own books; in fact, part way through I realised that I had read Bradshaw’s book last year as part of another series. Robert was set up so endearingly that I immediately bought his book when I finished The Rake despite the aforementioned fiery plot crash. I was, of course, disappointed. WHEN? WHEN WILL I LEARN?! Enoch pulls me in and lets me down every time! The Rake painfully so. It was thisclose to greatness.
England’s Perfect Hero
What a surprisingly almost-non-cringeworthy cover, but fear not!, here is the front flap:
I feel better now.
Because there are as many men in these novels who fought against Napolean as there were actual soldiers at the time, Robert Carroway is one of a legion of Regency romance heroes with PTSD. He is still struggling to re-enter the world of the living four years after coming home. Lucinda, Georgie’s best friend, is actually in pursuit of another man, the one in the title, but gets increasingly distracted by Robert. She should be. He’s lovely.
England’s Perfect Hero lacked the ebullience of the The Rake, although the characters were sweet and well-drawn, especially the Carroway family. They are such fun. Suzanne Enoch got bogged down in a convoluted, and really rather obvious, subplot and that’s where this one went off the rails.
Both of these novels careened into their endings with ridiculous behaviour from their characters and illogical plotting decisions, thus bringing me back to WHEN? I actually said, “this is stupid” out loud during one particularly egregious incident. If you want to write a love story with neither machinations, nor major subplots, there is nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s my preference. However, if you choose to have villains and intrigue, you have to make them convincing, compelling, and logical. As a purist, I won’t like your story as much, but I will appreciate the effort.
Note A: Georgie is heavily pregnant throughout England’s Perfect Hero. It was Chekov’s Womb. Chekov’s Unfulfilled Womb! There’s an unrealised subplot involving fans in The Rake. I mean, honestly!, why set these things up and then leave them dangling. WHEN?
Note B: There is a novel between Tristan and Robert’s in the series, but it doesn’t involve the Carroway brothers, so I wasn’t interested.