December 27, 2013
Chemistry without the Spark
A Midsummer Bride is the first book by Amanda Forester that I've read and when I started to
read it, I was very excited! Oh boy, I thought, this is going to be good! The story had elements which I enjoy. A smart, quirky heroine, Harriet, who loves chemistry and a supposedly socially awkward hero, Duncan, who is also Scottish and says "ye" a lot. I enjoyed the beginning, but it wasn't long before the story started to drag. I had to force myself to continue, which I did. This almost became a DNF - sigh.
Our main couple, Harriet and Duncan, could have been a great couple if they had been allowed to fully develop; however, every time they were center stage the scene would abruptly change and the focus would be on a different pair, who I can only assume will have their own story. You know, sometimes when a secondary romance is in a book the flow between the two storylines is seamless and they blend together smoothly. However, the change from one couple to another in this book was jarring and eventually I found it irritating.There was even a point when I had to check to make sure which pair was the main one.
The couple quagmire was not the only problem I had with this tale. Harriet was supposed to be a whiz with chemistry, but almost every time she did an experiment she caught something on fire. And, then there was the brash American routine. The honest American who just doesn't fit in with the silly British aristocratic women. The British women for the most part are portrayed as snooty vipers - I grew tired of the cardboard stereotypes and found it hard to believe that the English women would have been quite so loudly vocal in their hatred of Harriet. I was also irritated that Harriet would let these women continue as long as they did without striking back.
For me there didn't seem to be any cohesion in the story. It was all over the place - sailors are pressed, Harriet kidnapped, there are secret matchmakers, guys avoiding matchmakers, spies, mean women, horses, and an odd woman who wears a crown. There's a secret door which leads to horses and a fire that almost ruins a party, but the woman with the crown insists on partying on, even though the house is torched. The story has loose ends and a couple without chemistry. Then there is the hero, who must sell his estate and his secret horses because his mother (the woman with the crown) has gambled them away. He needs money, money, money. Harriet has money - tons of money. They love each other, they admit to each other that they love one another. "I love you Harriet." "I love you Duncan." But Duncan cannot marry Harriet because she's rich, even though he needs the money, he just can't do that to her! Sooooo, let me get this straight Duncan. You love a rich woman, she loves you, but you can't marry her because you don’t want her to think you’re marrying her for her money, but you’ve told her you’re not, that you love her…aaakkkk....there seems to be a ringing in my ears.
In the end I was disappointed in this story. The couple were not fully developed as a romantic couple, there was too much time dedicated to the secondary couple, and not marrying someone you love because they have money was just silly. The story was disjointed, slow, and a struggle to finish. Much to my disappointment, A Midsummer Bride didn't work for me.
Time/Place: Regency England/Scotland
Sensuality: Don't blink