If Pride and Prejudice is the ultimate You Are Everything I Never Knew I Always Wanted romance, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is the perfect illustration of what the romancerati refer to as The Big Misunderstanding. If at some point during their courtship or honeymoon, Maxim de Winter had managed to blurt out, “My wife was a vain, inconstant shrew and I loathed her, you little fool”, everyone would have been spared a lot of agita. Nothing to Commend Her has two Maxims and two The Second Mrs. de Winters. Both keeping secrets, both refusing to have basic conversations or ask simple questions that would clear everything up.
I wrote the preceding paragraph before I finished Nothing to Commend Her. I was taking a break from rolling my eyes and groaning. I often get review ideas while reading the book, such as a romance review template, and this time I planned one around the following elements:
- I got this book for free on Amazon.
- Jo Barrett is a new author because they often give books away to appeal to new readers. This was how I found this gem from Caroline Linden.
- As Barrett is a new author, I would write a constructive criticism review of her book with helpful hints for Ms. Barrett and her editor. I did that before with Shana Galen and Anya Wylde.
- I was going to be nice about it.
Then it turned out that Jo Barrett has published over thirty romances, both historical and contemporary, and now I can’t really see the use in pointing things out. She’s clearly making a living, so I’m just going to do this: