Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: That Perfect Someone by Johanna Lindsey

That Perfect Someone by Johanna LindseyDear Ms. Lindsey,

Despite being one of the grand dames of romance, I haven't ever read one of your books before. I don't know why. It's just worked out that way. When I picked up  That Perfect Someone, I was going into it blind but excited about the story based on the blurb. It seemed like that kind of book I generally enjoy reading and I did not realize until later that it was part of a series about the Malory/Anderson family. You should know that I have a troubled relationship with sequels and series, and perhaps that tainted my reading experience. But nonetheless, there were some problems that go beyond this book just being part of a family saga.

Julia Miller is the daughter of a Cit, a man who has made his fortune in trade. Yet, unlike the other daughters of the  nouveau riche merchant classes, Julia does not lack for invitations or connections to the ton. She is already considered one of them and has been since birth. Why? For the simple fact that she has been engaged since her infancy to one Richard Allen, second son of the Earl of Manford. This, along with her wealth, has given her a certain cache in society. Not that Julia cares about titles and other such nonsense, particularly, if that connection to a title comes with an unhappy marriage to someone she hates. For unfortunately, neither she nor her betrothed can stand each other and have been nothing but against their impending union from the very moment they met.

Richard and Julia loathe each other and have since their first ill-fated meeting when she was five and he was ten. Their displeasure has been violently expressed ever since in a series of altercations, often verbal, sometimes physical. He dangled her over the edge of a balcony once, and she broke his nose. For whatever reason, they can't see each other without lashing out, fists and tongues flying, until damage has been done. Fortunately for Julia's peace of mind, Richard ran away nine years ago, presumably leaving the country rather than suffer being forced to marry her. Unfortunately, his father, the Earl, insists on maintaining the marriage contract, convinced that Richard will one day return and enable the Earl through the marriage to have access to Julia's money.   Despite the best efforts of her father and her lawyers, Julia Miller still finds herself engaged to a man she does not like even a little bit, a man who has not been seen or heard from in nearly a decade. She is tired of waiting for a groom that will never come and plans to have her roving fiancé declared dead in order to break the contract.

Meanwhile, Richard Allen has been playing pirate on the high seas these last nine years using a bad French accent and the name Jean-Paul, which puts me less in mind of a pirate than a waiter from an old Folger's coffee commercial. L'addition, s'il vous-plait, Jean-Paul! His return to England is prompted by his friend, Gabrielle and her new husband, Drew Anderson. These two love-birds are visiting Drew's brother, Boyd the recently married in London. Apparently all these happy marriages called for a family reunion. Richard has decided to tag along so he can see the woman he loves one more time. Too bad for him that he's in love with another man's wife, namely Georgina Malory, wife of the notorious James Malory and some kind of kin to either Drew or Gabrielle. I really didn't get the relationships between the characters. I thought a chart would help, but there was no chart. They are all related, though. So very, very related both to each other and previous books. Obviously, they all had to make cameo appearances either in person or in reference.

But the story of Richard and Julia really starts at the ball given by Lady Eden for Georgina Malory. Richard, having been warned off Gerogina by her husband, simply must see her. He loves her, you see. Or so he thinks. So despite the fact that his father might catch him and force him to marry Julia, not to mention the more likely possibility that James Malory is going to beat the crap out of him, he must attend. Conveniently, the ball is a masquerade so it will provide the perfect opportunity for him to stare lovingly at Georgina from a distance, thus mitigating the chances that he might be caught.

As it happens, Julia is a friend of Georgina's, and she, too, attends the ball. When she notices murder in James Malory's eyes, she simply must know who it is he is staring at and why. So she hunts down the offending party through deduction and meets Richard, whom she does not recognize. He, being in disguise, pretends he is French (Jean-Paul!) and they end up sharing a kiss. But dash it all! just before Richard can make his escape, James Malory catches him and beats him up. This leaves poor Richard with a battered face, while the kiss has left Julia smitten with the mysterious Frenchman. The lack of recognition on both parts does not last long, and by the next day the two affianced young people have realized who, to their horror, the other really is. Wackiness then ensues, with Richard risking being shackled to Julia by taking off to the country to visit his brother. Then there is some kidnapping and a sea chase and a ridiculous scheme concocted to try and destroy the marriage contract binding them together. And of course, they end up falling in love due to their adventures together and all that hate turns to passion.

Being that this is part of a series the first three chapters are spent catching up any readers who have forgotten the shenanigans of the previous couples featured in this story. Since I hadn't read any of the books before this one, I was both annoyed and grateful for the on-last-week's-episode style of prose you employed at the beginning of the book. Every secondary character is someone from another book, down to the chick that is only there long enough to throw a ball in honor of Georgina Malory-’incidentally, why this ball being thrown in her honor? Has she done something of note? Had birthday? It was never explained even though everyone else's back-story was continually alluded to throughout the book. I suppose it is because everyone loves Georgina. Why they do, was left up to the reader's imagination.

But that is neither here nor there.

The central plot is one of my favorite types of stories. Not just enemies to lovers, but childhood enemies to lovers. I love that one and I don't see it nearly enough. I enjoyed the scenes of Richard and Julia romping and fighting best, both in their present and in their past. That was the best part of the book. The bit about them trying to get the marriage contract from the abusive and evil, Earl of Manford, was a lot less interesting. Because, of course, the villain of the piece is Richard's father, a petty, vicious and cruel man for no apparent reason whatsoever. That is not to say that you don't give a reason. You do. It's just a really lame one.

Which brings me to my main criticism: reading this book was pretty much the textual version of watching "Days of Our Lives" but not as satisfying. Back in the late 90's, I would watch Days religiously. I don't know if you ever did, but if so perhaps you will recall the whole plot where Kristen found out she was Stefano DiMera's daughter? No?   And she came up with this cockamamie scheme to keep John Black from leaving her for Marlena by using Baby Elvis, the son of her doppelganger Susan? Nothing? Doesn't ring a bell? And some other stuff happened but I won't get into that. That's not the point. The point is that it was a wondrous mess of a plotline, which even has a  Wikipedia entry and it got me addicted to "Days." So even now, a decade later, sometimes I still watch. I turn it on and am immediately lost and confused. As with most soap operas you always enter  in medias res, and as such you can never really know what's going on or who anybody is. Linear time has no meaning in soap operas. Different actors play the same role. Sometimes they switch them out mid-episode! Nine-year old children disappear to whatever boarding school or dude ranch soap opera characters send their kids when they are too old to be cute and too young to be plot points, only to come back fifteen years older than they should be and sporting a nickname. Sometimes people get resurrected from the dead or possessed by Satan. You just never know.

And Stefano DiMera is always the man behind the plot. Even when he's not the villain, he will turn out to be the villain's father. Not only that, but nobody knows what Stefano's motivation for villainy actually is. Why? because it doesn't matter. He's the villain, thus he does villainous things. I bring this up because the Earl of Manford was that villain. Had he turned out to be Stefano DiMera's son, I wouldn't be surprised. Why was he so villainous and stubborn about the marriage contract? Well, I won't spoil the reason but it was just as nonsensical and confusing as any of Stefano's motives. The Earl was mean for no other reason than because the plot required him to be mean. Just as the plot required there to be some question as to whether or not Richard was even his son. I was hugely surprised that James Malory didn't turn out to be Richard's real father, since he was everyone else's . . . or at the very least their uncle, despite the fact that he didn't seem old enough. What matter are things like time, when drama is at work. Maybe James Malory is Stefano DiMera.

But it wasn't just motive-less villains and questionable parentage that reminded me of "Days." The previously mentioned insufferable number of characters trotted out from past books was so much like a soap opera that I found myself annoyed. Every third paragraph felt like a reference to another book, and every appearance of an old face offering advice, good cheer and help, an allusion to another romance. They were such a jolly lot, wholly indistinguishable from one another and as interchangeable as the aforementioned actors playing the same role. In this case the role was either plucky, beautiful heroine or charming alpha male of means. For a story that is supposedly set in the Regency, I couldn't help feeling that the prose and the characters ought to have put the setting and time period somewhere in the United States between 1950 and 1960, certainly not anywhere near Regency era Britain. For example:

Georgina stood up and approached her husband. "James" was all she said.
He turned his scowl on her. "Are you out of your mind, George? Think I don't know all this concern is for the blighter who lusts after you? I'll help him to his grave and no further."
Georgina ignored that and reminded him, "You also have the faster ship."
"A crewless ship," he was quick to point out. "It would take days to round-’"
"You can have my crew," Drew cut in. "Gabby and I will go with you, of course, since Richard is our friend."
"You're  not captaining my ship, Yank," James warned his brother-in-law.
"No, of course not."

But Drew was grinning as he came around the sofa to sit next to his wife. Those two at least considered the matter settled. Julia wasn't so sure yet. But then she watched Georgina hug her husband.

I don't know what is about the prose that feels anachronistic, and yet not exactly contemporary. I tried to choose a quote that shows what I mean, but it was hard. I think it is a flavor that I got from the whole rather than simply one single section. Whatever it was, it seemed far removed from the period in which it was ostensibly set.

And really, Ms. Lindsey as you have been writing historical romances since literally before I was born, you should really have bothered at some point in the last thirty years to look up the way British titles work. Could you not be bothered? Was there some natural disaster, a war perchance that prevented you from going to the library? For god's sake, madam, with the internet you don't even have that excuse anymore. It isn't just you. I'm sick of this in historicals, all together. It smacks of laziness. It isn't as if I'm asking authors to plumb the depths of the National Archives, reading old letters and journals that have not seen the light of day in nigh on a century. I'm not even as picky about historical details as some others are. I don't, for example, get my drawers in a twist when heroines wear drawers long before anybody actually did wear drawers. But holy jackanapes! it does not take that much attention to detail to find out that the second son of an Earl would not be Lord anything unless he somehow inherited a title of his own. Or that in the period you write in, people who had titles would be referred to by those titles. Am I supposed to take the fact that everyone is known by their first names, regardless of rank, title or intimacy, to be the sign of these people's wonderfulness? That this total disregard for something has simple as nomenclature is somehow a symbol for what a cool and roguish group I'm dealing with, rather than laziness on your part? As I write this, I am googling DeBretts. It took me all of ten seconds to discover that they have  a website, of all things, and gigantic tab entitled "Forms of Address" a tab that renders any excuse for this lack of knowledge moot.

The willy, nilly use of names and titles was not the only problem pointing to total lack of historical accuracy. As far as I was concerned, the entire book had the same attention to detail and fact as a 1950's period film. I kept picturing Charlton Heston in the role of James Malory, being ruthlessly American and macho despite plot, period, and setting. And while there is a certain charm to watching Charlton Heston attempt to navigate the role of Andrew Jackson opposite a bewigged Yule Brenner, it is not a charm that lasts long. Sadly, this book suffered from a similar disability. You see, the point of accurate historical detail is not to prove that the author is smart or able to do research. The point of details, such as nomenclature, is to give depth to the story and characters. It is not about being realistic, but about creating dimension. So while there was as much charm in watching the exploits of these characters as they fought on sea and on land, as in watching Charlton Heston not realizing he's playing a gay character (Ben-Hur), it was not a charm that lasted long.

As for Richard and Julia, the hero and heroine of this novel . . . well, I read this book three days ago and nothing about them sticks in my mind. Not hair color, not eye color, nor any other distinguishing characteristics. I can't remember if I was rooting for them or not. I probably was but I can't remember the love scenes, so there you go. I have the book right next to me and I guess I could re-read parts and refresh my own memory as to anything pertinent . . . However, it strikes me that if I can't remember anything about them three days after I've finished the book, then perhaps that says more than I ever could about this novel. Usually, I remember plot details to such an annoying extent that even years and numerous alcoholic beverages later, I can find books whose title and author I've forgotten, and based only on minor plot details. Nothing about either character stood out in my mind so much that a good dose of gin and an over-the-counter sleeping pill wouldn't erase it. I think I would have had trouble remembering this book to ever find it again, if it was not written by such a big name author.

That said, while I was reading the book I enjoyed it. Or at least, I enjoyed it enough to finish it, which perhaps is not quite the same thing. If I was recommending this to a person who had already read the other books in the saga, I would perhaps give it a C+ because like many later books in a series about members of a family, it suffers from banality more than anything else. If I were to recommend this book to someone who had never read anything in this series before, as was the case with me, I would have to give it a C- for being wholly indistinguishable and rather unmemorable.

Sincerely,

Lazaraspaste

Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony | Kobo |

Lazaraspaste came to the romance genre at the belated age of twenty-six. While she prefers historicals, she's really up for anything . . . much like her view of food! Some of her favorite authors include Jo Beverley, Anne Stuart, Lisa Kleypas and Joan Smith. Once a YA librarian, she is now working towards an advanced degree in literature with the mad idea of becoming a critic and teacher. Though she loves romance, fantasy has always been her first love. She hates never-ending series and believes the ending is the most important part.

52 Comments

  1. Tweets that mention REVIEW: That Someone Perfect by Johanna Lindsey | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 13:13:55

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maili and Angela/Lazaraspaste, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: REVIEW: That Someone Perfect by Johanna Lindsey http://bit.ly/c8PYl1 [...]

  2. Phyllis
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:04:52

    I read a book by her – one or two books ago, I think. And I had the same problem with forms of address, anachronisms, etc etc that you did. That and the OTT soap opera-ness of it – she’s a virgintramp! With a secret wedding and a secret baby! And he’s a spy only a really bad one!

    ReplyReply

  3. TKF
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:06:31

    I’ve always considered her the queen of the wallpaper historical (and the “rape ‘em till they love you” school too).

    Not a fan.

    ReplyReply

  4. Verona St. James
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:07:56

    Ha. I actually DO remember that Days of Our Lives plotline. It was, coincidentally, the one summer I watched Days. And I watched it religiously. :)

    I think “baby” Elvis came back recently as a full grown man (after less than a decade since he was born, natch). And he was evil.

    This book does sound rather soap opera-ish.

    I recently read a book where I forgot the heroine’s name literally two minutes after I put the book down.

    Good review. Thorough. I think I’ll pass on this one.

    ReplyReply

  5. Kati
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:17:33

    Ah…Lindsey. I cut my teeth on the Mallory’s. For the longest time Love Only Once (the first Mallory book) was my favorite romance. Of course, I was 12 at the time. But I adored her. I mean, the entire misunderstanding in that book was that the hero was a bastard. No really, the ENTIRE conflict.

    Thing is, I’m 39 now, and I’m not sure her writing has improved, refined, or changed at all. And it no longer works for me.

    ReplyReply

  6. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:23:11

    I don’t read Lindsay. She has rabid fans, much as I hate to have Georgette Heyer maligned, so I tend to leave them alone.
    And the anachronisms kill me.
    However, about anachronisms, in that passage you quoted:

    “blighter” is a definite anachronism, 1896 according to etymology.com and “Yank,” is first recorded in 1778. “Hug” is a bit off, as British aristocracy just didn’t go around hugging people, and the word is a bit – off.

    The title misuses drive me demented, because they tend to be repeated through the whole book, and you’re right – it’s not hard to look it up. There’s a book in circulation where the blurb refers to a duchess as “lady” somebody or other. I can’t tell you what it is, since I read the blurb in a bookstore and put it down almost immediately.

    Another thing that drives me demented is the pirate-lord concept, unless the book is of the Pirates of the Caribbean variety and definitely not meant to be taken as historical. I tend to try to look up real-life examples of what I want to do, then you can show the critics that yes, it really happened. There were no pirate aristocrats. None.

    Hot guy on the cover, though.

    ReplyReply

  7. brooksse
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:33:20

    hmmm… I used to read Lindsey back in the day and remember reading the Georgina/James Malory story. It and the other books she wrote around that time the beginning of the end as far as my reading her books. Can’t believe all these books later and she’s still writing Malory stories.

    ReplyReply

  8. KMont
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:36:17

    Maybe James Malory is Stefano DiMera.

    THIS made me howl.

    I used to read her books a lot when I first got into romance. I’ve often wondered in recent years if I’d still enjoy them. Well, actually one of hers is a guilty pleasure of mine, but I definitely don’t pick up her books anymore. Guess I wouldn’t know for sure till I tried or maybe I’m just at the point now where I can look at her stuff as campy fun. Maybe.

    ReplyReply

  9. Aislinn Macnamara
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:37:10

    I don’t think that a marriage contract dating from people’s childhood could be made to stick by the Regency period. I thought that was the sort of situation that led to the passing of the 1753 marriage reforms.

    Now I’m off to wikipedia to see if there’s an article on All My Children the way there is for DOOL…

    ReplyReply

  10. marguerite butler
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:50:26

    I have no urge to read this book, but I :heart: this review. OMG, I loved DOOL (Days of Our Lives) back in the 80′s and early 90′s. I remember when Stefano first came on the scene.

    The title thing would make me want to fling the book against the wall. Seriously, some parts are confusing, but some aspects of peerage are so basic and simply. This is one of them. Ten minutes of research could fix that problem. I read Lindsey books donkey ages ago, but as someone said, I outgrew them.

    And I hate, hate, hate books that reference every single couple of every single book. Blerg.

    ReplyReply

  11. Ros
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 15:41:47

    The ‘calling everyone by their first names’ thing is one (of the many) reason I don’t read Julia Quinn, either. It’s such an obvious giveaway that this isn’t really a historical novel, it’s a contemporary novel with prettier dresses.

    ReplyReply

  12. Mireya
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 16:24:16

    The model on the cover is purrty … I’ve read a grand total of three Johanna Lyndsey’s books. Her writing style didn’t appeal to me so I wasn’t motivated enough to try more. Though I don’t think this particular one would appeal to me, I now feel compelled to take a look at her backlist again … yah, I am whacky that way…

    ReplyReply

  13. John
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 16:30:44

    I’ve only read one of her books, Gentle Rogue. It was my first historical, not counting Gone with the Wind, and I really enjoyed her style. I also enjoy the pirate/ship captain trope, so that helped a lot. And the original Fabio cheese cover was a good bonus. ;) I’m motivated to try more by her, but I get the feeling she’s a good memory/beginner author, more than one of substance.

    ReplyReply

  14. Edie
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 16:31:58

    Freakily like Kati Gentle Rogue was my favourite rom book at around twelve, actually it was the book that got me interested in reading romances.
    She is definitely a bit of wallpaper.. and if she had been first published now, she might not have gotten to be as big as she had in the 80s + 90s.. but the Mallorys will always hold a soft place in my heart. (The early ones)
    If you really want a mind trip though the Lyn-san-ter series are really bad LOL

    ReplyReply

  15. Je
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 16:38:12

    It’s been many, many, many years since I watched the movie on TV (I was 12 or 13), but….HOLY COW! Ben-Hur was gay?!

    I’m gonna have to Netflix that this weekend…

    ReplyReply

  16. Ridley
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 17:34:15

    Wow. That’s it. Joanna Lindsey’s Malorys are the regency version of Days of Our Lives.

    I loved Gentle Rogue – the novel Georgina and James came from – while also finding it high camp ridiculousness. It was a delicate balance, and I find pretty much all of the rest of her novels too silly to enjoy even ironically.

    ReplyReply

  17. DS
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 17:40:56

    I used to have a Friday afternoon get together with some old friends from high school– we were in college then– and we would watch soap operas prior to going out. You only needed to watch a show on Friday anyway to keep up with the story. I called it the Doug and Julie show as opposed to the Mack and Rachel show.

    I know I’ve read some books by Johanna Lindsey but I’m not sure which ones, so I can appreciate your amnesia about the characters. I think the thing she brought that was different and more palatable to romance readers at the time was that the heroine only was raped by the hero and not a lot of guys.

    ETA: By “at the time” I mean late 70′s to early 80′s when her star rose fast.

    ReplyReply

  18. Jayne
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 17:41:12

    @John: OMG, I read “Gentle Rogue” with the same Fabio cover, oh, so many years ago. Wonder if I still have it or if I purged the book when I started running out of book space?

    ReplyReply

  19. Sunita
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 17:58:38

    Thank you for this; it makes me feel much better about having spent the 1970s reading Signet Regencies and M&B categories.

    I so look forward to your deconstruction of a Woodiwiss or Deveraux through the lens of the Eden-gets-raped plotline in Santa Barbara.

    ReplyReply

  20. ehoyden
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 18:46:52

    Um. That’s not good. The modern feel of historicals really irritates me as well. Especially the misuse of titles and rank. Like you said, it’s so easy to look those things up.

    I’ve read a couple of her books when I was starting out in HR. One was about a misplaced/transplanted European princess raised in Mississippi even doing belly dancing in a tavern. She kept trying to make herself look ugly so the hero/prince wouldn't rape her. Another infant betrothal plot. Can’t remember the other book. I have had Gentle Rogue on my TBR shelf for a few years now and might break it out since others here seem to like it.

    Feeling the need to watch soaps and definitely Ben-Hur.

    ReplyReply

  21. Lusty Reader
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 19:27:06

    *sad sigh of remembrance* Johanna Lindsey wrote my favorite romance of all time.

    i can no longer reader any books of hers but that one unfortunately!

    i read about 6 of her books when i first started reading romance at age 12, so part of my love for her could have been timing but YOU MUST READ GENTLE ROGUE

    it is Georgina’s story, so you may be disinclined to like her now. but seriously. SO GOOD.

    ReplyReply

  22. Mary Anne Graham
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 19:39:50

    I adore Ms. Lindsey and the whole Malory/Anderson clan! I’m reading Boyd’s story – “No Choice But Seduction” now and I’ll surely add “That Perfect Someone” to my list.

    Of course, I love series romance. I feel like I’m settling down with an old friend when I read a Malory story.

    I guess taste is as individual as all of the experiences that make us who and what we are today.

    ReplyReply

  23. Kim
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 21:06:36

    I used to adore Lindsey – but her books have gotten progressively worse over the years. The last one I read had such a laugh out loud ridiculous plot twist that I put it down and never picked it up again.

    Think I’ll skip this one as well.

    ReplyReply

  24. Daisy
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 22:54:32

    Since none of you know me, I can admit here that I have all of Johanna Lindsey’s back list hidden away in my closet (complete with nekkid Fabio covers!) I used to adore her books; not so much James & Georgina’s story, but loved Anthony and Rosalyn’s – which, btw is one of the original Mallory books and was a wonderful story.

    I still purchase her new books, though I can’t remember the last time I actually read one – it was several years ago, I do know that. I just feel this compulsion to purchase them since I have the whole lot.

    The thing that gets me about the Mallory books and the fact that she keeps bringing James into them is that back when she wrote James’ book – he was old, like old enough to have an 18 year old son – and that was a good 20 years ago! Now I know book people don’t age in the same way that real-life people do, but James has to be close to 60 by now, so shouldn’t he be retired?

    And as someone who has read the whole back list (well, not the last few) – I am still utterly confused as to who is who in her newest books. There are just too many of them, and they are all perfect and gorgeous and wonderful. Ugh.

    ReplyReply

  25. JenD
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 02:17:52

    I love the Malory books. Gentle Rogue is still one of my ‘ice cream books’. Bad day? Don’t worry a quick trip with James and George will cure you.

    Although, Anthony was always my favorite.

    I still read the Malory books, yet lately it seems that we’ve run out of family (never thought that would happen) and now have Georgina’s old friend’s Aunt’s hairdresser from grade school.

    If they’re not blood-related, or Percy, then I think it’s a bit unfair to label them as a Malory story. It has the desperate odor of ‘Dear God buy this book even though the Malorys are tagged on as an after thought but perhaps no one will notice’. Well, we notice.

    I would like to see the children grown up and finding their own loves. James dealing with his children being let loose to the wolves? Now that would be a great book.

    Still, will I buy That Perfect Someone? Yes. Sometimes all I want is a nice wallpaper historical, some camp and a visit with old friends.

    Some people juggle geese- I love the Malory family.

    ReplyReply

  26. Noelle Pierce
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 06:59:22

    Sigh. Johanna Lindsey’s books were the first romances I read and I loved all but one of them (the aforementioned “rape-’em-till-they-love-you book). I used to own every one, and a couple of them still rank as some of my favorites.

    But, the last few I read weren’t nearly as good as I remembered the rest being. And I’m disappointed. I’ll still probably read this one, because it’s her, though my expectations aren’t very high. I’ve never minded the use of first names, and to be honest, I would have put the first one down as soon as it started if she hadn’t used first names. I’m like that with more formal writing. I still try and put down Jane Austen (*ducks*), but I love the stories. I just can’t read them.

    I digress. My point is that it sucks for the readers, but established authors are often not held to the same standards as debut authors and it shows in the writing. (I just blogged about this a couple weeks ago, actually). It’s sad.

    ReplyReply

  27. Eileen
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 11:07:00

    I actually feel kind of sad reading the review and the comments. I used to be a huge Johanna Lindsay fan but, like a few others commented, I haven’t enjoyed her most recent books. They have just been really bad and shallow. In fact, I passed on her newest book in paperback that I saw in the bookstore just a few days ago. It is literally the first time in 20 years that I didn’t buy her latest book.

    I loved the early Mallory books. I discovered them in my late teens/early twenties and just loved them.

    It is kind of sad for me to see how her writing has gone so far down. At one time, she was my favorite romance writer.

    ReplyReply

  28. CathyKJ
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 13:01:51

    I just have to say that because of the Wiki link in this review, I’ve lost a good hour of my life catching up on Days drama. I used to watch that in high school, the mid-90s, and it’s been a hoot to see what the characters have been up to (as well as their twins, evil twins, long-lost twins, back from the dead twins, back from the dead twin but really them in disguise, random dopplegangers, alternate personalities, and demon possessed selves).

    ReplyReply

  29. lazaraspaste
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 13:44:07

    Thanks for all the comments!

    So many of you were fans of Lindsey in the past that I almost feel bad. Almost.

    But I’ve noticed this with many long time authors, not just romance authors, where the later books are just cheap copies of the earlier books. Sequels rolled out without thought or plot, simply to what? It always feels a bit like a betrayal. For example, I still haven’t forgiven Anne Rice for Merrick. ;)

    Umm . . . and @CathyKJ I’m sorry about the link. The Days of Our Lives Wikipedia page is a black hole. I should have attached a warning with that one.

    ReplyReply

  30. sweeney
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 14:29:24

    Joanna Lindsay got me into romance. For that reason alone I will forever have warm feelings for her. I don’t actually read her books anymore, but let’s give props where props are due. She was a grande dame long before many!

    ReplyReply

  31. Meriam
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 14:57:06

    Like so many of you, Gentle Rogue was one of my first romances and I LOVED IT. All the early ones are actually very fun. The comments here have brought a smile to my face, because I used to love those Fabio-emblazoned books. Good times!

    ReplyReply

  32. Teresa
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 17:59:20

    Wow, that was quite the rant review!

    I was/am a Johanna Lindsey fan. I may have stopped reading her novels after I felt she lost her zeal for writing, but I will always love her earlier works.

    Gentle Rogue was marvelous fun (James Malory is my favorite). Her westerns were really entertaining; Savage Thunder, Angel, A Heart So Wild. Her futuristic novel, Warrior’s Woman was hilarious. She’s also written a few viking and medieval novels that I enjoyed. She’s one of those authors that you can just read for the sheer fun of it, historical accuracy/anachronisms be damned.

    ReplyReply

  33. Kimberly Nee
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 18:05:59

    Johanna Lindsey is one of the main reasons why I decided to write historical romance. I loved her earlier Malory stories especially. But, since about Jeremy’s story, I just feel like she writes them because fans expect her to, not because she really has her heart in them. They are flat and full of those irritating, throw-the-book-against-the-wall, unbelievable plot twists. It makes me sad as well. I’d rather see her write about totally new people and write like she used to, than keep putting out stories I have no interest in reading.

    ReplyReply

  34. Lorraine
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 19:00:44

    I credit Joanna Lindsey, along with Kathleen Woodiwiss & Rosemary Rogers, with giving me a life-long love of romance novels. I loved all of her books from the early 80s until the late 1990s. She wrote everything from Westerns, Regencys, Medievals, Sci-Fi and a couple of sheikhs. They were wonderful and I still have every single one in my garage.

    It’s undeniable that her work for the last decade is awful. I still buy her books and read them out of loyalty, but rarely do I enjoy them, (but I do love to reread her oldies.

    ReplyReply

  35. John
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 00:04:23

    @Jayne: I have made it my mission to pick up any and all original Johanna Lindsey covers with Fabio after the joy of Gentle Rogue’s original. xD It’s quite…memorable, to say the least.

    ReplyReply

  36. IHOP Insanity and Its Aftermath » Quacking Alone
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 10:03:29

    [...] That reminded me of a blog debate that ensued over on the Dear Author website when someone wrote a blog post that savaged Johanna Lindsey’s new Malory book – “That Perfect Someone.”  [...]

  37. Lyvvie
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 21:40:43

    This made me laugh! I’ve liked/loved the Malory series off and on over the years. They were some of the first romance novels I’d ever read. Also, just recently, I’ve found myself watching DOOL as there’s nothing else on at 2pm in the afternoon and it’s cold out. Currently running anywhere from 6-12 months behind the current episodes (I’m in Australia) and Stefano and Elvis and the evil…made sense. They’re both in a kidnapping plot!

    ReplyReply

  38. Rissi
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 08:47:13

    I know this is a month after the last comment and I haven’t read the book yet (I will though), but I couldn’t resist having my two cents worth. Teresa, I agree with you. Who cares whether they use the correct titles, etc. I don’t. In fact, that’s what I do like about them. Like Noelle, I love the stories from Jane Austen but I’m damned if I’ve been able to get past the first chapter (or sometimes page). Love them in film though. Mary Anne, I’ve read your quacking alone blog and your comments in relation to this review and its ensuing comments and I completely agree with you.

    My sister reads M&B because she finds them easy to read; I read Joanna Lindsey (mainly the Malory novels but some others) for the same reason. Sometimes the plot twists don’t make much sense or are just ridiculous and most of the previous characters have to be mentioned – at the very least. They always make me laugh though and that is why I like them. Not because they are well written, historically correct, or have depths and dimensions, but just because they make me laugh. In particular, it is the character’s interactions in the books that drew me to them in the first place and keeps me buying the next one and waiting for the one after that.

    I see romance novels as fairy tales for adults. Whether they are historical or contemporary, they are all full of characters who, even if they don’t agree with the summation, are invariably beautiful, smart, popular, blah, blah, blah. Of course, there are trials and tribulations for the characters to go through, but they all live happily ever after.

    The End.

    ReplyReply

  39. michelle
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 07:17:47

    i love the malory books i was confused why they called this a malory novel but since the malory / andersons are in it im ok im jonesen for a fix. yeah it not exactly accurate historically but i dont care about that . you really have to read the previous book to understand why they call each other by their first names and the referencess to the other characters its all interwoven so you can keep up with the whole family . i cant wait for thomases book and clintons as well as the malory children .

    ReplyReply

  40. ATP
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 21:30:54

    Have you ever heard of reading a book just for entertainment, fantasy, escape?

    You must have been too busy trying to find fault that it didn’t even register that at least in two occasions, the book mentions that the ball was for Georgina’s BIRTHDAY.

    I love Johanna Lindsay and have read all her Malory novels. As such, to me it was reuniting with old friends.And, the use of first names and references to the past did not bother nor confuse me because of it.

    My hat’s off to Johanna Lindsay. Keep them coming Ms. Lindsay – the day I pick up what would be the very last Molory/Anderson series, will be a sad one in deed.

    As for you Ms. “Lazaraspaste” I suggest that as the heroines do, let your hair down and learn to relax – it does wonders.

    ReplyReply

  41. ATP
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 21:37:13

    By the way (taken from Debretts),

    Younger Sons of a Duke:

    The younger sons of a duke have the courtesy title of ‘Lord’ before their forename and surname.
    Prefixes such as His Excellency, Major General, The Rt Rev, The Rt Hon etc. precede his courtesy title.

    ReplyReply

  42. poppy
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 12:24:28

    @ATP: it seems you didn’t read the book either because Richard’s father is an Earl not a Duke, you too can do some relaxing sweetheart

    ReplyReply

  43. ATP
    Oct 10, 2010 @ 18:30:22

    At Poppy: Touché :). You’re right and I realized my mistake 1 sec. after I wrote the comment. The point is that I didn’t let these things get to me or in the way of me enjoying the book. Criticising these things is like criticising why everyone’s phonenumber on TV shows and movies start with 555.

    If you’re a fan of her books – salutations.

    ReplyReply

  44. swedenmom
    Nov 04, 2010 @ 15:07:43

    Hi all,
    I am definitely a reader of Ms. Lindsey. I am unsure if she is married so will go with a safer salutation. However, they are getting harder and harder to read the historicals that are flat with the same old twists and writing. I believe our authors that work so very hard to write need to take a break, refresh themselves and then try to write again. They are talented that is no lie. I could never write a book like they do. HOWEVER, the fans deserve the courtesy of a true work not one they slap together to get it to deadline so they can be paid. I am finding many typos, many bad spellings, very bad gluing by the printers etc.. But the book prices keep going up! Ms. Lindsey if you read this. Please write after you have had some time to refresh yourself, write about something your heart or head burns to write. In the meantime, perhaps you could have a website of your own for real fans? Or are you now out of contact with all of us. To all you authors, please take pity on your fans, write what you burn to write with enthusiasm, with creativity and of course your burning desire to write. aS IT WAS when you first started out. Regards Swedenmom

    ReplyReply

  45. Raylee
    Dec 28, 2010 @ 20:26:51

    Paradise Wild was my introduction to romance novels. After that, I was hooked on Lindsey. She’ll always be my fave romance author.

    ReplyReply

  46. ishani
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 13:45:23

    hey dude if by any chance you get to read all the series, i would suggest you not to miss it.
    I have read all of them, and to this day i remember every member by heart.
    Oh! i know that being tagging Richard in Malory Family was a bit too odd, but once you read the series-you will know that it is just the reunion of the old family.

    “Lindsey have a way of writing her stories in a series yet keeping everyone of them apart.”
    I simply love her books.

    ReplyReply

  47. lea
    May 20, 2011 @ 07:34:49

    I would like to comment on the part that Johanna didn’t mention what the Lady Eden ball is for. Well the ball is “supposed” to be a surprised to George because it’s her birthday and it was mentioned in chapter 3.

    ReplyReply

  48. Darnella Lane
    Jun 28, 2011 @ 21:54:05

    I am a big Lindsey fan,and have each of her books. Over the years her writing has not change much, and that is what I like about her. when I sit down to read her books Iknow what I am getting.A Johanna Lindsey story. A little slow and relaxing read.

    ReplyReply

  49. Christina Warner
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 13:50:31

    If you read histirical romance novels, or even romance novels in general, you are not reading for a history lesson!! The critciisms here are weak. I mean really, if I wanted a history tutorial, I would watch the history channel. When I want to be taken away to a magical place that has a happily ever after ending then a romance novel is what I pick up. Johnanna Lindsey is a master of her craft and deserves a little more respect than this blog! Get a life!

    ReplyReply

  50. Anne
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 21:57:18

    A bit late to the party, but I had to comment; I adore Johanna Lindsey (though the sex seems somewhat less hawt now than it did when I was first reading it as a young teen) but the title misuse and abuse drove me CRAZY. Edward was fine enough, that was explained, but Anthony’s title? And Kelsey’s magical title that skipped two generations down the female line? wtf?

    I’ve read up to Jeremy’s book, and was severely disappointed in that one. Not sure if I’m going to hunt down any further, or if doing so will just sour the old favourites for me.

    ReplyReply

  51. Lonnie
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 16:20:34

    I’m new to Johanna Lindsey just this year and have read three: Prisoner of My Desire; Heart of a Warrior and That Perfect Someone. I agree with a previous comment–not a fan of “rape them until they love you” scenerio as in Prisoner of My Desire. Heart of a Warrior was a little far-fethched. But I loved That Perfect Someone. I’ll agree, Johanna should have received a lesson on England and the aristocracy, but that didn’t matter so much to me. I read romance novels for the romance–the passion everyone wishes they had in their lives. I picked this one up from a library shelf titled “Best Sellers Revisited” because of the hot guy on the cover. I’m in lust with him! And the book didn’t disappoint me. After reading the blogs, I think I should go back and read a couple of her earlier Malory Novels. My favorite authors are Sidney Sheldon and Jackie Collins (such as the Lucky Santangelo books), but felt I needed to get out of a rut. Not sorry I’ve read a few, but Johanna Lindsey doesn’t reach my favorites list either.

    ReplyReply

  52. Monique
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 02:51:12

    Wow, I am really late to this party.
    I like Johanna Lindsey’s Malory stories, but I agree with the criticisms placed on her writing.
    I remember reading “Love Only Once”, and thinking that Eden’s reason for treating Reggie the way he did was ridiculously stupid. Whats more, Reggie forgave him too quickly. He acted like an ass after he slept with her and got her pregnant, Didn’t let her explain that the reason she couldn’t cry off the engagement was because she was pregnant, than abandoned his confused and pregnant wife on their wedding night, only to come back 6 month later and accuse her of having another mans baby. I was furious with him! I would have been more forgiving if the reasons behind his actions were more understandable, but they weren’t, he was a bastard and so he acted like one.

    In saying that, I am one of those unusual people who love “The Magic of You”, watching a persistent Amy chase Warren into a corner was charming and very funny! I think it will be my favorite forever and I wish I had a list of regency romance where the woman does the seducing.

    I always skip the “family introduction” part, Lindsey has this annoying habit of introducing each Malory, and their story, in every one of the Malory books. If you have read the previous books, you know how George and James met, if you havn’t, then you probably don’t care. If you do care how they met, I trust that you are going to find out by reading James and George’s story yourself. I swear a quater of any new Malory story is going over information that I already know. Stop it Johanna, it is annoying.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: