January 15, 2015
Anachronism: "something (such as a word, an object, or an event) that is mistakenly placed in a time where it does not belong in a story, movie, etc." Merriam-Webster.
I, like most romance readers, have seen tons of books loaded with anachronisms pass by my eyes. Sometimes we whine, rant, and throw tirades about them. Sometimes we just shrug our itty-bitty shoulders and move on. There are message boards loaded with discussions on the proper use of this and that. Whether they be the words used or the objects, or the event, it doesn't take too many anachronisms to stimulate romance readers into expressing themselves - unless - yes, I am throwing an unless into the pot - unless they like the book. And, that's the royal "they." I have tried to analyze why I find some books using anachronisms to be more irritating than others and I haven't really figured it out. Sometimes, I just like the story so much or the hero or the heroine that I ignore those nasty 21st century things. I have also read authors who write contemporary people dressed up in historical costumes and I have accepted those stories. I find it easier to accept those books if they have an element of humor in them; dark, angst-filled historical dramas filled with 21st century words, actions and objects are less acceptable. If you haven't caught on by now, Say Yes to the Marquess was filled with dialog, thoughts, objects that were not of the time period portrayed. While I did appreciate most of the story and enjoyed the hero and heroine, loved the secondary characters, the 21st century reared it's unpleasant head one too many times. Sorry to say, I didn't enjoy this story as much as I wanted to.
Our romantic couple are Clio and Rafe and they have the advantage of knowing each other since they were young. Rafe has been in lust with Clio since she started budding, which could be a problem seeing as how she is engaged to his brother, Piers. So, poor ol' Rafe has gone his way, becoming the black sheep of the family, irritating his father, drinking, carousing - you know the standard ploy. He has also chosen as his career, boxing. I confess, I confess, I'm not a big fan of sports, any sports and if I was forced to come up with a list of sports I would actually watch, boxing would be on the very bottom. I do like Rhythmic Gymnastics - can't really see a manly man twirling a stick with a ribbon attached though. I digress. Rafe lust after Clio, but Clio is engaged to his brother. And, when I say engaged, I mean e-n-g-a-g-e-d - for eight l-o-n-g years. I must admit when I found out how long Clio had been mildewing away I asked myself, "why?" My initial reaction to Clio's waiting was "Are you kidding me? Are you crazy? What kind of a doormat are you?" So, I had a hard time liking her namby-pamby ways.
Through most of the book Clio was two different people; she was the woman who let people walk all over her (which includes her insensitive sister Daphne) and the woman who has a dream - a dream where she is the owner of a brewery. I can only assume that a woman owner of a brewery would be mighty hard to pull off in Clio's time period. So, I respected the dream girl, but at the same time I was irritated with the subservient drudge. I think I would have liked Clio better if she had stood up to someone - anyone. I don't care who! There were so many people walking all over her, her sister, her brother-in-law, her fiancé and even Rafe. I would have loved to see her blast just one of those people.
On the other hand, I loved Rafe. There wasn't too much about him that bothered me; he was just a standard, guilt-ridden hero. If I had to pinpoint an issue I had with him, it would be that he didn't listen to what Clio was trying to tell him. Oh sure, he's aware that she's talking to him, after all her mouth was moving; he's just not hearing what she's saying. (Sort of like what happens every day at my house.) Rafe was a strong lead, I just wish the woman he fell in love with had been his match.
My favorite people in the book were secondary characters, Bruiser and Phoebe. Bruiser seems to be Rafe's trainer, however, in some pretty comedic scenes he pretends to be a wedding planner. Even though the scenes with Bruiser were pretty unrealistic, they were also very funny. The other interesting character was Clio's sister Phoebe. She seems to be some kind of mathematical genius, maybe a little autistic savant, I'm not sure or maybe she's just socially inept. If Ms. Dare does chose to have Phoebe in another book I would hope she doesn't use a heavy hand with her. Right now she is a delightful character and if written properly her story could really be good.
One other thing, I grow weary of whankee-roo interruptus in my books. Please lock the doors before you proceed with your maneuvering!
For me this was an uneven read. There were parts that I enjoyed, and I loved Bruiser and Phoebe. I found Rafe to be charming and Clio to be weak. I also was irritated that I noticed the anachronisms, which is never a good sign.
Time/Place: 1820s England