I’m a slow reader, and rarely read more than a book a week. In the past two weeks, I managed to read one third of a novella, half a novel, and one book from start to finish. Here’s a recap.
A Paris Affair by Adelaide Cole
This erotic Harlequin Spice Brief begins with Valerie, the forty-something Parisian wife of a diplomat, battling indifferent passerby, a bureaucratic receptionist, a snagging turnstile and dog poop to bring her developmentally delayed son Mathieu to the doctor. After returning home Valerie is too tired for more than a glass of wine with her husband.
Then Philippe tells her he is thinking of taking the kids to visit his parents in the country for a few days, in order to give Valerie a break, time to rest. Shortly afterward Valerie receives a call from Oscar, a married man she once met and was attracted to. Even as she’s packing for Philippe and the kids, Valerie is contemplating sleeping with Oscar.
This is where the story lost me. It’s not like Valerie was married to an asshole, or as though Philippe was going to enjoy her sleeping with Oscar. Valerie’s unsuspecting husband loved her, and it was only the exhausting efforts involved in raising Mathieu that had depleted the couple’s energy for sex. Am I supposed to enjoy reading about the hot sexxoring between Valerie and Oscar knowing that it is all being made possible by poor Philippe’s thoughtfulness toward his wife? At one third of the way through, I don’t think I’ll finish A Paris Affair.
The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
This novel with two storylines – an intrepid college student travels to the time of the Black Plague, while the professor who worries about her grapples with a pandemic virus in the future — started out with some promise, but then the story took a long time to get where it was going. Two pandemics, and a third of the way in no one had died. It probably says something sad about the evolution (or should I say devolution) of my attention span, but I got impatient and started skimming the future storyline.
But the thing is, I hate spoilers, and the first time I read a book, I really don’t want to know where it’s going, even when I think I want to know. So once I’d read ahead, I was even more impatient with the slow development of the story, and finally I decided to give up. Unlike some of my fellow reviewers here at DA, I don’t care for most spoilers. They really can spoil a book for me. Lesson learned: resist the temptation to peek.
(My husband, who finished this one, thinks it may be just as well: “Because it’s a sad story, and you don’t like sad stories.”)
Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase
While I liked the Duke of Clevedon, the hero of this book, it was the heroine, Marcelline, whom I adored. I loved her. Loved loved loved her. I loved that she was a dressmaker, part French, part English, and all gambler. I loved the way she lived by her wits, the way she bested Clevedon and put him in a tailspin. The first third of the book, which took place in Paris, was incredible.
Once the action moved to England, the book became a bit more conventional with Marcelline dependent on Clevedon’s help more than once. Certain things did not ring entirely true: the way it took Clevedon so long to recognize that his feelings for his fiancée, Clara, were brotherly; Clara’s colorlessness and lack of charisma; and Marcelline’s rather annoying, overly-conscious-of-her-own-cuteness daughter.
Still, there was a love scene that was so poignant as well as passionate, there was Paris, and did I mention the amazing Marcelline? This one has a good shot at ending up on my annual top ten list.
So tell me, what have you read recently? And if you’ve read any of the above, what did you think of them? If you haven’t, would you like to? Why or why not?