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REVIEW: Almost a Lady by Jane Feather

Dear Ms. Feather:

You are a favorite author of mine despite some serious missteps (KissedBy Shadows – What were you thinking?). I really enjoyed Almost a Bride even though many thought that Jack, the hero, was too cold and mistreated Arabella. I defended you on message boards claiming that Jack did love Arabella and showed it in a way that was consistent with his own character, position and time period. I cannot defend your book Almost a Lady. It’s almost as if you hate us romance readers because your book is so devoid of romance and tender emotion, that it’s like you are slapping us in the face.

Almost a Lady by Jane FeatherWhat was wrong with this book? Let me count the ways. First, your characters have no backstory, no motivation, no setting. It is as if the two characters are born fully formed and at the prime of their lives. Meg, your heroine, who is a gently bred baron’s daughter loses her virginity at quite young age in Venice to some boatman. There is no explanation as to why a gently bred girl would have done this. There is nothing in the story to explain this course of action. Cosimo, the hero, is an assassin. Why he is an assassin, when he started, who he works for, I am not sure. I know only that he has two twin sisters younger than he and his mother liked things Italian (kind of like Meg). I don’t think that I even knew his last name, if he had one.

Cosimo is expecting a female operative to join him in a mission to kill someone in France. It is pretty easy to guess who. Anna, the operative, does not show up. Instead Meg stumbles into the carriage meant for Anna. Cosimo must go forward with the mission and he needs a woman to do so. He seduces Meg for the sole purpose of binding her to him to fulfill his mission. That left me a rather bad taste in my mouth. It doesn’t rise to the level of the KIS hero but it does show a coldness and disregard for Meg’s feelings. The way in which Cosimo treats Meg is a hallmark of the entire story: cold, calculating and selfish.

Anna and Cosimo have worked together frequently and they would have “relationships” during the time that they worked together. To some extent, Meg is simply a replacement for Anna – in all things. I think that led to my dislike for the situation. Even though Cosimo said that he didn’t compare the two, you always showed Cosimo comparing them in his mind – that Anna would have done this or wore this. Meg was different in this way and that. And he cared for Anna – a great deal. It shadowed him that she was somewhere hurt and/or captured.

For Meg, I don’t understand why she choose to so carelessly throw away her reputation and truly, her future, on a romantic liason with Cosimo. I don’t mind that she made the choice, I just don’t understand the motivation. In the end, I didn’t understand where the two of them were going. It wasn’t akin to All Through the Night where Jack and Anne could no longer stomach society and being the tools that they were within that greater mechanism and wanted to get away. Disappearing and remaking their lives made sense to me. Not so for Meg.

You can write. Parts of the books are spirited. I particularly liked the realistic revulsion Meg had to Cosimo being an assassin but at the end of the day, he was still an assassin and all her prior qualms about it were simply swept away with lust.

At the end of the story, I just regretted spending time with Cosimo and Meg and didn’t feel their relationship constituted a romance at all. I almost am tempted to give you a D but because your writing is technically good, I’ll settle for the C-.
Best regards,

Jane

P.S. The title? What the hell does that have to do with anything?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

3 Comments

  1. Dear Author.Com | Simon & Schuster’s Early Ebook Release: Jane Feather’s A Wicked Gentleman
    Feb 19, 2007 @ 11:25:22

    [...] though it appeared by Feather’s last book that she hated romance, a new release of hers is due out late March. Simon & Schuster is [...]

  2. P. A. Livingston
    Oct 31, 2007 @ 14:40:24

    Hello Jane,

    I am stunned to find out how great your books are, and concerned that you aren’t getting enough exposure. I began with your Duncan sisters trilogy, and it was a pain to get Batchelor List, the last of the three in this set. I must have visited 30 bookshops before breaking down and ordering it. There’s something unique about your style and the way you tell your stories that I find wholly engaging. I have long been a Georgette Heyer fan, and have had difficulty getting her re-releases. However, I am convinced that you are underappreciated for your unique style and storytelling abilities, and you are every bit as good as Georgette Heyer.

    I want to thank you for the memories you bring to me when reading your books, and the effort you go to in acheiving your storyline objectives. You are truly one of a kind. I have noticed that when people offer comments on books, they somehow feel the need to find holes and appear more intelligent by criticising others. I consider this a futile exercise because we are all flawed. Therefore, I want to let you know that you are one of the best authors I have ever read, and can’t wait to find more treasures in the pages of your next book.

    ReplyReply

  3. Y.G
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 03:16:08

    I loved your book! It was like a time stopper, because once i started reading it for me timed stopped and the only thing going was the story. I fell inlove with the characters; yes they didnt have a back story but at the same time that made it even more.interesting.

    The only thing about this book is that it left me confussed and with a million questions. There’s.no real ending, atleast for me. How is Meg’s family going to react with her staying with Cosimo again while he ties to finish his mission? And i could of sworn the book was going to end up wih Meg being pregnant!

    One of my favorite parts of the book is when they both have a very passionate moment where Cosimo forget to take precautions and finishes inside of her, and when they talk about it she tells him not to.w
    Worry that she’ll bleed in two days. In the book a small seed.of wonder is placed in his mind because he tries not to think of what could happen if she ends up pregnant. yet.for the rest of couple of days the book doe not imply anything about her bleeding.

    Later on the book that thought comes back to.my head when she ” gets sick” from riding in the carriage. Which they explain that she normally gets like that but why even.bother bringing it up if it doesnt connect to anything?

    Over all the book was good. Your a great author and I hope to read more of your books

    ReplyReply

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