Monday, May 21, 2012
Lady Anne's Quest
Love Lost. . .and Found
Lady Anne Stone believes her prayers are answered and she’s at last found her long lost uncle. Unwilling to let her meet him on her own, Daniel Adams accompanies her to her uncle’s ranch. But instead of answers, Anne is left with more questions. Both Dan and Anne are convinced the man introduced as her uncle is an imposter and decide to continue the search for the new Earl of Stoneford.
But now the swindler is on their trail, hoping to steal Uncle David’s inheritance. Dan has his hands full trying to protect Anne, but he finds he must guard his heart just as carefully. Even though he’s good at keeping her safe, he knows he’ll never convince Anne to become a farmer’s wife in Oregon when she has her sights set on returning to her home in England. But as Anne’s quest becomes even more difficult — and dangerous — Anne begins to see Dan differently. Will she soon be envisioning a new life in America?
I tried so hard to like this book. I SO wish I had gotten ahold of this manuscript before it got submitted to a publisher. I want to tell you it was a light, cute romantic mystery, but I can't. Maybe we could just blame the cover blurb for being misleading...
I found two main problems with Lady Anne's Quest. First, Davis spent half the novel characterizing the wrong people. Was I supposed to be sympathetic to the villians? Why? I didn't want to get to know them. I didn't want their every move laid out in front of me. This made the book so tedious and predictible, I didn't want to read to the end, and after a week of valiantly trying, I skipped the last 40 percent and scanned the last chapter. Yep. Just as suspected.
While spending so much precious word count on tedious descriptions of what the villians were doing, Davis failed, completely failed, to characterize the main characters. The ones who I was supposed to like. The ones who were supposed to be falling in love. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt that the character descriptions were in the first book of the series, creatively titled, The Lady's Maid, (great, now I'm getting sarcastic), a book I admitedly have not read. In which case, this would just be like a really long Epilogue to that. And that doesn't have to be bad--I classified Enduring Light by Carla Kelly that way, and found it a delightful read. But, needing to like the characters I'm reading about (Anne was a clueless cold fish, and Dan was a big incompetent sissy--plus, Anne and Dan? Bleh), this book just did not do it for me.
This sounds like such a terrible review of a book that had clean romance, great writing, and an intriguing premise. But the romance was so clean it was boring, the writing so detailed and focused on the wrong things, the banter didn't ring true, the characters made a series of unwise choices when they were otherwise (supposedly) characterized as smart and capable, and the premise wasn't played out as interestingly as it could have been. I think other people might like this (Laura), and I might have under different circumstances (I had read and loved the first book, I had not expected to really like it, or maybe listened to a fantastic narrator read it on Audiobook or something). It's not a terrible book, but it's not very...satisfying either.