Friday, November 19, 2010

"Rakes and Radishes" by Susanna Ives

Disclaimer: The review version I read was an ARC obtained via NetGalley.

Contrary to what some may believe, writing a review is not an easy task.  It entails much more than just saying "I hated this book" or "I loved this book".  Writing a review is further complicated if the person writing the review does not exactly know what to make of her reading experience of a particular book.  I am facing such a quandary as it pertains to "Rakes and Radishes".  You see, the book is well written, it definitely is historical romance in the classic sense of the word.  However, when I started reading the book I had a certain expectation.  I thought that the book was going to be, if not an outright comedy, that at least, it would have strong elements of, at the very least, light humor.  Frankly, what little I found of humor in it (and please bear in mind humor is an extraordinarily subjective element), disappointed me, because the conflict and the angst I found through at least one third of the book pretty much annulled any attempt at levity I may have found.  Frankly, at this point, I am having a hard time remembering if there was anything in the book that actually did make me smile (aside from the happy ending).

I do have to say that I finished the book rather upset, because I felt (and still feel) that the title is misguiding.  It has taken me over a month to write these words because I thought it would not be right to write a review that could turn out to be rather unfair to the author due to my own expectations about the story.  My review is going to be rather short for this reason.  The last thing I want is to end up being unfair, as I am fully aware that my own expectations colored my reading experience.

The story involves a young woman, Henrietta, who fancies herself in love with her cousin.  When her cousin gets engaged to another woman, she decides that she has to win him back.  To do so, she comes up with a scheme and convinces her childhood friend, the Earl of Kesseley (Kesseley) to help her.  Pretty much she wants Kesseley to seduce her cousin's fiance, so that she can then show her cousin that it is her whom he really loves.

Overall, the heroine, Henrietta, was not particularly appealing.  It was not until about two thirds into the story that she became a sympathetic character in my eyes.  She did suffer for her own selfish behavior.  Kesseley, on the other hand, started as a very sympathetic hero, but when he decided that he was fed up, he went to the the extreme opposite of the spectrum.  He turns into such a jerk that frankly, even when the heroine was not exactly perfect herself, I was wondering why in blazes did she take him when he came back to her.

I did have issues throughout the book.  I felt there was a bit too much angst and drama for my taste, particularly since, as I indicated above, I was expecting something entirely different to what I actually encountered.

Frankly, though I didn't think the book was bad and I was able to finish it, truth of the matter is that, well, I can't say I enjoyed it either, though I did read the whole story.

I will pay a bit more attention the next time I actually request a review copy of any book.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I feel kinda duped

Here's the deal:  I was looking at the books available at NetGalley and this historical romance called my name.  Just judging by the title, I honestly felt that if it wasn't an outright comedy, at least, it would have a strong humorous element.  To make the story short, it didn't have a strong humorous element.  As a matter of fact, more than 2/3s of it involved the conflict between the main characters, and it wasn't a "fun" type of conflict, if you know what I mean.  Mind you, in romance a book is supposed to have a conflict, so that is not what I am complaining about either, but as I said, I was expecting something entirely different and suffice it to say, though I finished reading the book, I can't say I liked it... and I think that feeling is mostly because I did feel disappointed,  The book reminded me more of Brenda Joyce's style, whose work I read when I am in the mood for it because, well, I find her style a bit dramatic, for lack of a better word. 

Anyway, now I am sitting here, typing this, and trying to figure out how to write that review.  *sigh*