REVIEW: An Affair of the Heart by Joan Smith
The Marquis of Claymore had been rejected by the Beauty of the Season and he was determined to marry the first beautiful woman he could find to assuage his pride. There were the Wanderley twins, with Wanda as gorgeous as could be, and her twin, Ellie, obviously not in the same class. But Wanda was almost engaged…
Dear Ms. Smith,
I have loaded up on your books but, spoiled for choice, I dithered on which one to read. Looking at ratings on a (now defunct but much missed site) I decided on this book. Honestly, it took me a little while to really get into the opening section but once I had, I had a great time. Claymore and his bestie Rex are, to put it delicately, not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed which I found a refreshing change. Ellie, on the other hand, won me over very quickly. Even her prickly mother-in-law ends up liking Ellie.
Clay has a bit of a problem with his pride. Following along with the crowd, he’s spent the Season paying extravagant court to the Diamond. Not bothering to glance at his morning paper, he arrives at her house and makes her an offer without reading that a Duke has already beaten him to the punch and won The Rose’s (her nickname) hand. Clay and his friend Rex quickly realize that she’s going to blab this on-dit to fashionable London. After brainstorming, they decide to set out for Rex’s parents’ house which is close to that of the Wanderleys – parents of beautiful daughters. What Clay needs is a fiancée as beautiful as The Rose and Rex assures him that Wanda will fit the bill.
They arrive and Mrs. Wanderley is delighted at the thought of her daughter snagging a Marquis. Wanda is delighted at the thought of using Clay to prod her true love into popping the question though if it comes to that, she’ll accept becoming a Marchioness. Meanwhile her twin, Ellie, Rex, and Rex’s sister tag along while Clay snap woos Wanda, unaware of her plans. Rex has told Clay all along that Ellie is the better catch being more intelligent, less flirty, and kinder. It doesn’t take long for Clay to figure this out. Wanda gets what she wants, Ellie gets a proposal from Clay but the hijinks are far from over.
I’m not such a fan of the Big Misunderstanding but here it works. There are actually a few of them, zigzagging through the book but all are built on a solid foundation of human nature and since the plot threads don’t depend on just one to make things work, I found them understandable and believable.
Quite a lot of the plot tends towards convoluted. There are a fair number of secondary and tertiary characters but as they’re not all dumped on the reader at the same time, it’s fairly easy to keep them straight. The humor is more subtle rather than laugh out loud with BFF Rex providing much of it. Clay might not start out acting like the brightest bulb in the display and he does act initially to salve his pride and one-up The Rose but slowly he catches on to who the real Catch is and then sets out to prove to her that she is, in reality, his first choice despite what her spiteful sister might say. Meanwhile Ellie sticks up for herself but not anachronistically so. The reviews are mixed for it but I wound up inhaling it over little more than a day. B
This does sound appealing, Jayne. Thanks for your review!
@Kareni: I can usually count on Joan Smith’s books though some are, as with most authors, better than others.
Thanks for the review. I did enjoy the book, though, while I believed the couple had fallen in love, I wasn’t sure they were friends – which was fair enough, because they didn’t have time to get to know each other – but that left me feeling that the marriage would have a few bumpy moments before they achieved an HEA. I also really enjoyed the hero’s mother by the end, but her volte-face did come out of the blue.
There were a lot of errors in my kindle edition – poor Rex could hardly come on to the page without it reading as as ‘poorRex could’ or ‘ poor Rexcould’ which was just a little irritating, because he was a really original character: I can’t remember reading anyone so terribly tactless. She does have a gift for secondary characters: even the sister who was scheming to ‘borrow’ the harp, who was scarcely on the page, was a fully-formed character.
@MMcA: I agree – “poor Rex” was fun whenever he was in a scene and I kept waiting to see if the sister would somehow manage to get her hands on the either harp or the table she was eyeing.