February 7, 2017
Whatever happened to...
Surrender to Sin, by Tamera Lejeune, was written in 2007. I remember reading it when it
first came out and I remember finding it funny. I also remember reading a couple more of Ms. Lejeune's books and then I stopped and then she just disappeared from Romanceland. I've done a lot of looking but could not find her anyplace. I don't believe she had a website even when she began to write. Maybe she just tired of trying to keep the momentum going and if you have read Surrender to Sin you will understand why I say that. This book was a cross between a fast-paced comedy (think His Girl Friday) and a Jerry Lewis movie (think The Lady's Man.) For those of you who don't enjoy fast-paced farce filled with characters who cross the line between loony and mean, this book isn't for you.
In this book we have Abigail, the very rich daughter of a tradesman by the name of Big Red Ritchie. He has made his money from producing the best scotch in the land. Abigail is a shy person, who has a head for financial matters. She can turn an idea into lots of money, she just can't talk to men. She has also just broken her engagement to her awful fiancé and must flee into the countryside to avoid the scandal. Her father rents her a cottage in the wilds of Hertfordshire. Little does she know that the owner of that cottage and the dilapidated estate attached to it belongs to the handsome stranger who helped her in London. That handsome guy is Cary Wayborn.
Even though Cary is in need of money, he also has a pretty cavalier attitude when it comes to ways to make the cash flow again. He has also been throwing away bills for the alcohol he bought from Red Ritchie. In fact, he doesn't like the man. He does not know that the woman he's been mooning over, Abigail, is Red's daughter. Then she arrives at the cottage. A tree has fallen on the rented cottage which leads to some pretty funny dialogue.
This book is hard to describe, because it's one misunderstanding after another. Mistaken identities abound. There are oodles of outrageous secondary characters - a vicious Macaw, a bird loving corgi, a senile nurse, an unpleasant chaperone, her sensual mysterious nurse, the gossipy neighbors, the actor, Abigail's ex-fiancé, Cary's sister and her fiancé. The entire cast of characters is outrageous. All of them plotting, lying, talking over each other. There's a kidnapping plot, a jewel thief/s, Bow Street Runners. My head was spinning just trying to keep up with all the shenanigans. I had laugh out loud moments, but also moments when I grew tired of all the racing around.
While I found this to be a pretty funny story, there were a couple of things which I had issues with. First of all, Cary's sister Juliet. Evidently Juliet was the heroine in the previous book and I don't remember that book at all. But in this book she was really quite an unpleasant character. She was immature, selfish and her treatment of her fiancé was horrible. I found her character to be terribly unlikable and could only wonder at the fact that she supposedly was the heroine from the first book. She needed to be put in her place, and nobody seemed to be able to. Abigail tried to stand up to her in part of the book, but I wish she had been just a little bit more powerful in confronting her.
The other quibble I had was this book was played mainly for laughs. I love humorous books - I think they are great and I'm always on the look-out for more. In those funny books I like a nice balance of romance and fun. For me the romance lost out to the wacky, zany comedy. Nice try though.
Time/Place: Regency England (I guess - there was no sense of time)