July 3, 2013
I had one of those moments. One of those, "I know I've read this before" moments. How can that be? In fact, I almost put the book down because I thought I'd read it before. But, the leeddle voice in my head kept saying, "It's new, it's new, it's new." So, I kept on reading.
Nonetheless, it was familiar enough for me to start looking for the "other" book with a similar scene in it. It was a distraction and I wasted some precious time wracking my brain. And, my brain is something that shouldn't be wracked. For those of you who are interested, the scene is in the very beginning of It Happened One Midnight. Jonathan, our hero, has been called into the den for a talk with his father Isaiah. If you've read the Pennyroyal Green series, you should recognize Isaiah Redmond, the brow-beating-ruthless-micro-manager father of the Redmond clan. Anyway, this scene in which he hands out his ultimatum to Jonathon was really familiar. Enough about similar stuff.
This time, in Pennyroyal Green, it is the youngest Redmond sibling, Jonathan, who takes center stage. Joining Jonathan in the journey to romance is Thomasina de Ballesteros, or "Tommy" as she is called by others. Tommy/Thomasina happens to be the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Greyfolk. Tommy has a strong desire to know her father; she has a dream to be part of his life. In fact, when we first meet her she is outside her father's house spying on him, wondering what book he's reading, letting her imagination run wild, all the time clutching a medal/memento, the only thing of his that she has. This memento is very special to her; it holds all her childhood dreams of family in it.
It is while Tommy is watching her father that Jonathan puts in his appearance. And, what a dynamic appearance it is! When Jonathan makes his first appearance, he is in the shadows. The only thing we see is the red glow of his cigarette. He had been silently watching Tommy as she watched her father. It was all very sexy. I know, I know, cigarettes are stinky, they make the breath of our heroes smell...but sometimes they can be used to set a tone and they certainly did in this scene. This scene created a incredibly sensual Jonathan.
Jonathan and Tommy are a delightful couple. Their dialogue is fun to follow. When they are together just talking, this novel shined. For those of you who like their romance couples to fall in love instantly, you will be disappointed. Jonathan and Tommy take their time, they become friends first and then they slowly accept the fact that they have fallen in love along the way. I became quite absorbed in finding out how they were going to resolve all their differences and find their HEA. Did I find some of the resolution a little bit too neat? Did things fall into place just a little too easily? Yes, to all of those questions; however, it was a fun ride to get there.
Was this a perfect book? What do you think? I did have a few "pu-leese" moments. First of all, the orphans. Tommy saves orphans and she coerces Jonathan into helping her. So, they turn into a Lone Ranger/Tonto/Cisco Kid/Robin Hood couple running in and out of places, climbing walls, fooling the bad guy. It was all a little too much and the children were just a little too saccharine. Although, I must admit one of my more favorite scenes was Jonathan being cooped up with one of the children for hours and hours - pretty funny. There was also a scene where Tommy starts ripping her clothes off as they walk across a bridge. My first thought was "oh no, not a puppy." Thankfully it was just her precious medal that dropped into the water. So, she was ripping off all of her clothing to dive into the water to rescue her medal. My question to that was, does a metal medal float? Wouldn't it just sink to the bottom? How would she know where to jump in? Plus all those clothes she was shedding, how long would that really take?
One other thing about two of the characters in this book, Isaiah Redmond and the Duke of Greyfolk. I find Isaiah Redmond to be an absolutely fascinating character and I wish that authors would explore writing stories about some of the older characters in their books. I think there is a great story to be found in the character of Isaiah. The Duke of Greyfolk on the other hand, turns out to be a very unkind, loathsome person and shatters Tommy's dreams of having a family. While this turned out to be painful for her, it also helped her face reality and she became a better person. I was pleased that the author didn't have a zippedy-do-dah reunion between Greyfolk and his daughter.
Even though there were moments where I was thrown out of the story and some 21st century language/slang that the author used, I still enjoyed this book. The couple worked well together, their banter was fun, and it was great being at Pennyroyal Green again.
Time/Place: Regency England/Pennyroyal