March 18, 2014
Warning...don't read the ending first.
Yes, yes, I am an end-reader-first person, have been for a long time. See traumatic reason. So,
along came Heir of Uncertainty, sort of a Gothic-Regency love/mystery story. We have Lina, our heroine, who is a widow of two months and pregnant, and our hero, Win, who may inherit Lina's estate if the child she is carrying turns out to be a girl. There is also Lina's sister, who suffers from asthma (I think); Win's young daughter, Julia; and his wonderful brother, Freddie. There are a young doctor, a shady lawyer, a disapproving magistrate and other numerous town folk. You see, there have to be lots of secondary characters because among their group is a murderer. And, that is where reading the ending of the book comes in. Spoiler alert! Skip to the next paragraph if you don't want a spoiler! You see, right away I spotted someone I thought might be the murderer and I thought nah, would the author do that? Yep, she did. The person I thought might be the murderer turned out to be the murderer. What this did was create a tension on my part to see if the author was going to come up with a good reason for the murderer/killer to do what they did. But in the end I was disturbed with the choice of killer and the reason for their actions. And, without giving too much away, the identity of the murderer was handled in an almost casual manner. Lina exhibited hardly any emotional trauma at all to the big reveal and in reality it would have devastated her.
I liked the first half of the story better than the last part. My favorite character in the story was Freddie, who seems to have had Asperger’s Syndrome. I thought he added a lot to the story and his relationship with Win was both real and touching, and at times rather humorous. In fact, when Win is with his brother and daughter, the storytelling is wonderful. There is some nice character development between these three characters. Where some of that development falls apart is between Win and Lina. Their romance seems a little rushed to me. And, it is rushed - she's been a widow for two months before Win shows up and then it's only a matter of time before they are having sex, falling in love, proposing marriage, doing the I'm not good enough routine, fighting and getting back together. Plus solving a murder along the way.
This story suffered from what a lot of old Gothic novels suffered from... is it a romance or is it a mystery? Sometimes those Gothic novels worked and sometimes they didn't. I think the biggest problem I had with this one was the romance between Win and Lina just didn't work for me. Where Win and Lina worked was when they were dealing with the other people who inhabited the book, but as a couple there didn't seem to be too much chemistry between them.
Overall, there were some things about this book that I liked; I especially liked Freddie and Win. They felt like real brothers and the emotions Win was suffering because of his brother were beautifully written. I loved Freddie. I was disappointed in the romance portion of the story. There didn't seem to be too much chemistry. And I was uncomfortable with the fast HEA after what should have been some pretty devastating disclosures.
Time/Place: Regency England