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

REVIEW: CB – The Other Sea by Marie Treanor

Dear Mrs. Treanor,

Some Other SeaAs I started to read The Other Sea, I was all set to brave Triskelion and buy all your backlist at once. Despite the editing problems that I’m coming to associate with that publisher (smiles at Angie), I was prepared to glom. After finishing this book, I’m still willing to try your backlist, but I will restrain myself, buy them one by one and hope that they don’t have the same problems as this one.

Overall, my impression of this book is favorable. You have a wonderful, little used setting (1068 in Scotland or Scotia as some of your characters call it) and you appear to have done your homework regarding the politics and people of your story (thanks Maili). You use period names (again, thanks Maili for the pronunciation lessons) instead of incongruously expecting us to believe that medieval women were named Chelsea or medieval men were called Cody. Your descriptions seem accurate and thank God you don’t attempt to have the characters speak in dialect nor use anachronistic words. Huzzah!

I like that you don’t spoon feed us by stopping to awkwardly insert information nor dump a history lecture on our heads. But perhaps a short glossary of terms and people would have helped until we could stop and research on the Internet. I appreciate that the characters are well rounded and you don’t hesitate to give them both good and bad qualities. And that they act consistently with your descriptions of them and the backgrounds you’ve given them. I think your use of the first person POV and restraint in revealing information that the heroine, Gizella, couldn’t possibly know (no “later I was to find out…” or “at the time no one knew that…”) adds to the suspense and made me really sit up and pay attention to your narrative so I wouldn’t miss anything.

But despite all these good points, I feel there were some problems. The sex scenes are hot but in one you switched back and forth from medieval sounding terms (cunny), clinical terms (clitoris) and silly terms (feminine slit). That was bizarre enough to temporarily pull me out of the scene. And did no one in this time period give a passing thought to birth control? I’m just curious about that one and stand prepared to be corrected.

Throughout the book, the mystery of who is trying to kill the heroine and why takes a lot of space and time yet in the end, the only real clue that was revealed was never tied into any more information and the denouement had a deus ex machina quality.

I’ve read romances long enough that I’m getting tired of authors using the Big Misunderstanding to further the conflict. You gave Gizella some real reasons to mistrust the hero, Ruaridh mac Eochaid but then seemed to have had Gizella work through her trust issues. Then one incident suddenly pushes her into becoming a Bitchshrew from Hell. I guess this is supposed to be The Last Straw but it feels like a Plot Device. I also thought that the hero was way to ready to forgive her the immense hurt she caused him and at the end, her change of heart seemed more due to lust than anything else.

And what was the whole thing with Gyorgy? The heroine is working for him due to a shameful secret (I think?) yet you never revealed the secret unless it’s her illegitimacy– yet others appear to know this fact– or that she’s not really a nun–and lots of people know that and you give a perfectly plausible reason for her doing that. Also, Gyorgy seems to know most gossip before anyone else so why does he need her and what does he do with the information?

I don’t think I’m out of line in expecting mysteries to be resolved and questions to be answered or at least hints and plausible explanations given by the end of a book. If you’re going to make a big deal about something, don’t leave me dangling.

I can’t give you the high grade I initially thought this book would earn but I feel confident in a B- and as I said, you’ve got me willing to try Triskelion again to read more of your books. And that’s no small thing.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

6 Comments

  1. Jaynie R
    May 18, 2006 @ 04:44:34

    Hi Jayne – I forwarded your blog link to Marie. Her father passed away this week so it may take her a while to come over and visit but I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.

    …and hey – I used to edit for Trisk *g*, although I admit, I know a lot more now than I did then lol. I’ll keep looking to see if you read any of the ones I edited so you can let me know what you think. (I didn’t do this one.)

    cheers,

  2. Jayne
    May 18, 2006 @ 05:26:54

    Jaynie, thanks for forwarding the blog link. I’m so sorry to hear about Mrs. Treanor’s father. Her book was recommended to us for our ebook contest and I’m glad I picked it.

    I’ve only read one other Triskelion book, Ribbon of Rain, by Pam Champagne. Was that one of your edits? I kinda went off on a rant about it, so I hope not! ;)

  3. Jaynie R
    May 18, 2006 @ 05:37:31

    lol – nope. That wasn’t me either *g*

    I can recommend Sexylips66 by Dakota Cassidy – that was one of mine, and also the last one I edited so probably my best.

  4. Marie Treanor
    May 21, 2006 @ 08:37:08

    Dear Jayne,
    Thank you for your words of sympathy. And thanks for
    reading and reviewing Some Other Sea. I’m so glad you
    liked the book (mostly!), and I have to confess that your
    criticisms are fair points. Looking back there are some
    things that could have been done better and made
    clearer. Next time!
    Many thanks!
    Marie

  5. Jayne
    May 22, 2006 @ 08:14:21

    Marie, I noticed in your bio that you’re Scottish. I wanted to say that your descriptions of Fife and Argyll are extremely vivid and just the kind of thing that I love to see authors put into their books.

    One of our frequent visitors is also Scottish and bemoans the fact that that she can’t find any contemporary Scottish novels which feature a Scottish hero with a Scottish heroine. There’s always a pesky American or English person as one of the leads. Perhaps you know of some?

  6. Marie Treanor
    May 22, 2006 @ 09:37:26

    Thanks, Jayne!

    Scottish heroes and heroines? Hmm. I’ll have a think.
    The only ones that spring to mind right now are (naturally!)
    my own. Both Ghost Unlaid and Old Town Magic have
    Scottish heroes and heroines. Sadly, my other heroes are
    all foreign – interestingly neither English nor American – one
    Russian, one Magyar and, coming soon, one Italian. :)
    I wonder why there is a shortage in this area? I suppose authors might feel they can introduce more conflict with another nationality?

%d bloggers like this: