March 25, 2016
We have another super hero - ta ta dah - Cryptic Girl.
There be spoilers ahead. What's that old saying by Henry Wadsworth? "Into each life
some rain must fall." Well, my little Petunia's, the same runs true of books - "Into an author glom project a stinker must appear." Doesn't have quite the gentleness on the ear as Wadsworth, does it? Oh well, I gave it a try. So I must face the facts, sad as they may be: I finally have tripped over a Jo Goodman book which leaves me nonplussed. This books begs for a punch line like, "What's the difference between a DNF and perseverance?" I don't know, time, money, headaches, yawns - you take your pick.
In case you haven't guessed by now, Let Me Be the One was not my favorite Jo Goodman book... dare I say - book. Let Me Be the One is the first in the Compass Club series and was published in 2002. It seemed that it took for-ev-er to finish this story and there were times I almost put it down, but being the first in a series I decided to drudge on. It all boils down to a few words, which I can string out. Those words would be: no chemistry between the heroine, Libby Penrose and the hero, Brendan, the Earl of Northam (North to his friends). On top of that we have one of the most self-loathing-I-don't-deserve-love-guess-I'll-go-eat-worms heroine I've ever come across. I'm-a-bad-person Libby was very tiring, very depressing and excruciating to read. Can you tell I didn't like her? Not only was she constantly beating herself up, but she was also constantly leaving cryptic messages around. Dire predictions of what might happen if our hero would fall in love with her. "You would do so much better to leave me in peace - I cannot be a virgin for you no matter how you make me bleed - don't trust me - don't love me - I will not allow you to save me." There were waaay to many self-loathing cryptic remarks out of Libby's mouth; this book almost hit the wall. Then we have our hero - Brendan.
Poooooor Brendan. He seems to be a Beta hero, but it's hard to tell. I know he falls in love with Cryptic Girl and goes around making excuses for her and trying to understand why she is the way she is, especially since she's nottt tellllling himmmm. See, I'm getting mad at Libby again. Back to Brendan. Brendan is kind of - looking for a word - looking for a word - I have it! Boring! Yes, I said it! Boring! He's not interesting! He has no sense of humor - well who could with Libby around? But this guy wouldn't know a joke even if W.C. Fields was standing next to him. When it comes to the sex scenes in this book, (and let me tell you there are tons of them), they are mostly skimmable. Two people, one self-loathing and one boring having whankee-roo is just not readable - especially when Cryptic Girl says depressing things while humping and bumping. If anyone could deflate a Timothy Toad it would be her.
Even as much as I found Brendan and Libby to be really really annoying, I thought the plot could have been interesting - if only there had been two different leads. Libby's past, the mysteries of her past, the villains, the Gentleman Thief, her father, her friend, his friends - all of that could have made for some good reading. But, the story failed. The villains are easy to spot and the solution to the various problems is done in a rush - leaving for me some glaring questions. What about Libby's son? What about her father? What about Isobel, her friend? Those ends were not tied, they just faded away - forgotten.
For me this book was a huge disappointment. The writing was choppy and hard to follow. The hero was weak, flat, boring. There wasn't any spark between the main couple. The biggest problem though was with the horribly depressing self-derisive heroine. If this were a standalone book, I'd say pass on it - but it's the first in the series. So, enter at your own risk, just be prepared for Cryptic Girl.
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Wake Me When Its Over