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REVIEW:  King of Threadneedle Street by Moriah Densley

REVIEW: King of Threadneedle Street by Moriah Densley

Dear Ms. Densley:

Historical romance reviews are hard to come by not just at Dear Author but around the internet. In an email exchange with Jayne, we joked about putting a bounty on historical reviews meaning we’d pay extra for every historical review that appeared in our inbox. But change starts at home so I pledged I would read and review one new historical every month in 2014.

The King Of Threadneedle Street (Rougemont #2) by Moriah DensleyI started early with The King of Threadneedle Street. It was the number one Victorian romance over at Amazon and it was a bargain price at 99c. The concept is tantalizing but the execution left a lot to be desired.

Alysia Villier is the daughter of a famous courtesan who married well enough to die a Countess but because of Alysia’s notorious parentage, the likelihood of her marrying well is low. Or so we are told. Alysia’s position in the Courtenay household is bizarre. She serves as almost Lord Courtenay’s secretary cum steward, sorting correspondence, sending out replies, handling tenant complaints. She also plans the wedding of Lord Courtenay’s daughter to Duke of Belmont.

Andrew asks his father “Where is the steward? Who is the mistress of the house? Is my mother so addle-brained that Alysia must manage your estate?”

Unfortunately for Andrew, Alysia and the reader, there is no response.

In a convoluted set up, Alysia grows up in the home of Marquees of Courtenay where she and the heir, Andrew Tilmore, Lord Preston, share a childhood romance. Lord Courtenay does not want his bloodlines tainted with the likes of Alysia and he warns her off constantly. Initially a bargain is struck to send Alysia to another home to ostensibly be a companion to Viscountess Harringer but really she’ll be the son’s mistress.

When Andrew suggests a different position for her – any position she desires whether it be lover, mistress, or wife – Alysia refuses. She’d rather, I guess, be the mistress to some stranger than be with her childhood beloved because she fears his social ostracization. Andrew continues to pursue Alysia throughout the story as she runs from him and his desire to give her a legitimate place in society, one beside the man she purports to love.

To tarnish her even more, Alysia goes to Paris where she becomes an actress and–unbeknowst to her–a demimonde in training. Fortunately Andrew has been searching for her and finds her before she can be sold to someone else. All this happens and Alysia remains untouched.

Alysia’s continued rejection of Andrew makes very little sense to me. He’s a man of great fortune. He’s brilliant. He’s the son of a Marquess. The idea that in the late 1800s him marrying a Countess’s daughter even if the Countess had a poor reputation would somehow ruin his ability to make money trading stocks wasn’t well conveyed in the book.

None of the surrounding characters made much sense either. Andrew doesn’t squawk when his sister’s new husband wants to invite Alysia on the honeymoon. While he might warn Alysia away from the Duke of Belmont, he makes no moves to warn his sister. His mother continually pushes awful women at Andrew including ones that have about as poor of a reputation as Alysia, yet shuns Alysia.  His father raises his mistress’s daughter in his household but won’t countenance a relationship between her and his son. Instead, he does everything he can to push Alysia into high class prostitution.

And it’s not that Alysia will be poor either. Thanks to the management of her money by Andrew, Alysia will be very wealthy when she comes into her inheritance.  So none of the choices made by any major players in the book seemed authentic. The plot became even more convoluted as the story went on. The twists in the story seemed melodramatic rather than interesting as we discover Alysia’s parentage and Alysia and Andrew’s social standing almost flips. Perhaps with tighter editing or a more focused plot this could have been interesting.

Andrew was a sweet beta hero who was head over heels in love with Alysia. They were two nice characters who probably belonged together but the effort to keep them apart was too artificial.

It’s a fairly long book,  made longer by the unnecessary addition of nonsensical plot point after nonsensical plot point.  It took me six days to finish this book. It’s an inauspicious start to my renewed commitment to historicals. D

Best regards,

Jane

 

 

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REVIEW:  Crossing the Line by Kele Moon

REVIEW: Crossing the Line by Kele Moon

Dear Ms. Moon:

I saw that this book was out and kind of balked at the price. I liked the first one in the series but I never finished the second one so I hovered over the buy button.  The author then offered the book for a potential review.  Here’s my two cent summary. If this book was $3.99, I’d be telling everyone to buy it. At $7.99, it is a tougher call. I liked it but I want to let the reader know a few things that might affect whether this is a purchase for them.

Crossing the Line (Battered Hearts #3) by Kele MoonFirst, the story is told in five different parts. It starts out present day when Tabitha, a best selling YA author, returns home to care for her sick mother. She ends up injured and puking out her guts when Wyatt, the town sheriff shows up.

The story then goes backward. We see how Wyatt and Tabitha first meet in third grade; Tabitha’s strong friendship with Clay  (the hero of the first Batter Hearts book) and then Wyatt and Tabitha’s young adult romance. About 60% of Wyatt & Tab’s story is before the present day.

Tabitha lives with her alcoholic mother and her drug addled brother. She’s never sure whether she’ll be eating ketchup for dinner or a piece of bread. When Wyatt offers her a cookie, Tabitha wonders what he wants but she takes it because in third grade, that might be the only food she has the for the day. Wyatt’s attention is arrested by Tabitha and his devotion to her never wavers, not through elementary school or even into high school or through their long separation.

For Wyatt, the only woman (and I mean only in every way) is Tabitha.  The reverse is true as well although Tabitha attempts, at times, to deter Wyatt’s interest.  There young love is sweet and endearing.  As Wyatt starts fighting professionally, the story follows the couple until their eventual separation. The fight scenes were fun.

I also felt that there were some great emotional punches (as Melissa from SMS Obsessions would say) such as when Wyatt tells his twin sister that love hadn’t been so kind to him and Juju replies that she just fought harder than he did.

I really enjoyed the childhood and young adult romance of Wyatt and Tab but some people prefer older protagonists. They are older by the end of the story but not for a good portion of it. They aren’t bogged down by high school concerns such as who gets to sit next to whom in the lunchroom but issues such as whether Tab and Clay have enough to eat or whether Tab is safe in her home.  Plus, Wyatt’s father is the sheriff and he has to keep his relationship quiet from his family because Wyatt is certain that his father would want the relationship to end.

The major sticking point for me was the long term separation. That is not shown in the book but we know that there are thirteen years during which Wy and Tab are separated and Tab’s reasons for this are both good at the time but lose power after the years pass. Why couldn’t she have returned earlier when she knows how much she loves Wyatt and how much he loves her? The thirteen years could have been two or three or even five. I didn’t get Tab’s reasoning and that really bugged me. And conversely, I felt like Wyatt could have been more proactive.  It seemed pretty obvious what was the root of their separation and that neither did anything for years and years seemed worthless.

I enjoyed this story of young love that blossomed into a lasting adult love. It was full of longing, angst, and emotion. B

Best regards,

Jane

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