May 25 2006
Dear Ms. Cabot:
I don’t know if you remember me. I met you at the RWA NY convention. You were very cute sitting in your chair but looked quite lonesome. You didn’t have much of a line in front of you. I suspect that it would be much different today and perhaps that why you blogged:
Sometimes when I am around authors who have made the big time, I notice that they treat booksellers (and other authors who haven’t made the big time) as dirt beneath their feet. As a matter of fact, when I was first starting out, several big name authors treated ME this way.
This is not a smart move, authors. Because what could happen is that the smalltime bookseller or author you are being so snobby to COULD become a bigtime bookseller or author, and she will remember the time when you treated her less than courteously.
And while I have loved many of your books (although I think the Princess series is getting stale), Queen of Babble won’t be in that category.
QOB features Lizzie Nichols, a 22 year old almost college graduate from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who has a problem with her mouth. She can’t seem to keep it shut and is a busybody to the nth degree. Her mouth gets her in trouble when she goes to visit her boyfriend, Andrew, in London. Andrew has a bit of a gambling problem as is on the dole while also working as a waiter. Once Lizzie leaves Andrew and heads to the south of France (i think it was the south of France) to meet up with her best friend, she begins to insert herself into everyone’s business.
And while at times, Lizzie seems charming, most of the time she is getting on my nerves. You did a great job showing me how Lizzie likes to babble, but no one wants to hear one person talk that much about herself for that long. I don’t care that you quoted Thoreau in defense of Lizzie. (I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.)
There was a scene early on in the book where you have Lizzie meet the hero. The two of them are on a train to Souillac in France. Lizzie is to meet up with her best friend Shari. In the dinner scene, Lizzie talks constantly. I think Jean Luc is given two lines. Frankly, I don’t understand how any man, let alone one who is kind, charming, good to his father and his mother, 25 year old investment banker, would be interested in someone so myopic.
And even though Lizzie admits her faults, albeit too late, its not enough to make up for the constant blathering. The book is so much better when there is conversations that take place between the characters than when we are inside Lizzie’s head.
And what is with the language inconsistencies? You have Shari, a girl born and bred in Ann Arbor Michigan saying things like “sprog” and her boyfriend saying “nudie-pants”. I feel like you went to Europe and absorbed as much of the culture there as possible to give your book an authentic feel, but forgot that 3/4 of your cast was from AMERICA and therefore should speak and talk like Americans.
Look, at the risk of getting an email like the one Diana Peterfuend received, you are as cute as the best of your characters, but I just don’t think Lizzie is one of the “best”. C for QOB.