As Compromising Miss Tisdale is Jessica Jefferson’s only entry on Amazon, I am guessing she is a new author just getting started. Congratulations to her on an excellent first novel. Her website lists three upcoming publications which will feature the eponymous Miss Tisdale’s sisters. They are introduced in this first effort and sound like they will be fun.
The novel starts well with Ambrosia Tisdale beginning her fourth season in/on the market for a husband. There is nothing wrong with her other than a desire to marry someone who will please her family and, this is the hitch, for love. It’s a tall order. Duncan, Lord Bristol, is one of those younger sons who have found himself possessed of a title when his brother unexpectedly shuffled off this mortal coil. Duncan has just returned from a family imposed exile when the story opens. Ambrosia is instantly drawn to him even though she thinks he is all wrong for her. Duncan is attracted to Ambrosia, but also needs her excellent reputation and sizable dowry to help restore his family’s reputation and coffers. Duncan decides it would be most efficient to simply compromise Ambrosia. It’s dueling tropes with the reformation of a rake versus a marriage of convenience. They have great chemistry and make sense as a couple.
Compromising Miss Tisdale is a promising debut and overall the writing is very good and creates the appropriate historical illusion; unfortunately, it gets interrupted by distracting word choices, grammatical issues, and editing errors. I would like to offer Ms. Jefferson some advice: You need to either fire your current editor and/or hire one. If you are self-publishing, I imagine there comes a point when you can’t look at your manuscript for one more second. Find someone knowledgeable and honest who can review your work for you. Your novels will be the better for it.
I have some notes:
- Why is the hero waiting around wet and half-naked in the library of a house in which he has a room? It’s a great first meeting for Ambrosia and Duncan, but there is no reason for him to be there. He could have run into her in a hallway while sneaking in to avoid the crush of guests. Afraid of getting caught together, he could usher her to another part of the house and things could proceed from there.
- The heroine’s name is Ambrosia and it is said to be the only “floral” quality she possesses. Ambrosia is not a flower.
- The hero spends too much time cavorting with prostitutes and drinking. I know he’s supposed to be a rake, but paying women for sex is off-putting and likely unclean. The drinking also seems to be a potentially serious problem.
- Montgomery’s → This should by Montgomerys or the Montgomery family. This is why you a need a new editor.
- I hope the villain’s long-suffering wife is both met and emancipated over the course of the books.
- peak → peek
- ingenue → This word is not being used correctly, should it be “novice”? It is used incorrectly a second time later in the story.
- “somehow he managed to control himself amongst one of the most unexpectedly” → She is one person, “with” would have been appropriate.
- “the man didn’t even have the gall to join us for dinner” → He had the gall not to join you.
- sugar cubes → These were not in common use and no one really knows this or thinks about it until they are mentioned specifically. It breaks the historical illusion.
- Could the villain’s sister have accessed her funds easily and without her husband’s knowledge?
- “made her unduly cognoscente of her actions” → cognizant? Definite auto correct/proofreading error.
- “some accounts that need reviewed” → need to be reviewed or need reviewing. This grammatical error appears more than once. – FIRE YOUR EDITOR.
- “assignation of his own character” → assassination
- Adonis → He was famed for his physical beauty, but he is not a symbol of amorous devotion.
- “Is that why you’re mad?” → They would not use this word in this context. She is angry, not crazy.
- “He must have sensed her debility” → Incorrect word choice – SERIOUSLY, FIRE YOUR EDITOR!
- “Before you ravaged me?” → ravished?
- “in response to that ingenuous remark” → disingenuous?
- “tactile sounds” → I know what you mean, but this doesn’t make sense.
- “building baskets” → Not building, filling.