February 26, 2005

Book Review: The Hidden Heart

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From the Publisher:

Beautiful, young Lady Caroline Eddington found it devilishly difficult to be the best friend of Lord Miles Trilby. Perhaps the most handsome lord in the realm, he was also the most heartless. Cold to the notion of romance, he turned icy at the idea of marriage. Thus Caroline had to be most wary of letting her feelings toward him grow too warm.

I just checked to see if this book was available on Amazon.com and indeed it is, but with a vastly different book cover than what you see above. The cover on Amazon is your typical romance novel cover with the lusty woman swooning defensively into the macho man. This novel is anything BUT lusty, but it rather oozes a stiff romantic quality.

The language in this book is agonizingly accurate, down to everyone calling each other Lady and Lord. (Written back in the era where it was considered scandalous for women to leave the house with their gloves). I found myself getting really impatient with this type of writing, it seemed so emotionless. But after a while, I got used to the formality and I have to admit, it actually added to the authenticity of the story.

On the surface, it's a nice story. The hero, in order to get out of being "shackled" lies to his Great Aunt (who is a duchess and tough as nails) that he is already betrothed. When the Great Aunt calls his bluff, our hero is suddenly forced to find himself a fiance, fast. This is doubly awkward because in the time this story was written, it was extremely poor taste and considered a bad career move for a woman to falsify relations with a man. So the heroine is really putting herself out there.

I say it's a "nice" story because it's almost too sugary sweet. Though the language and the time period it was written in called for a more "formal" approach to the story, it truly lacked any "sparks."

However, that's necessarily a bad thing, especially in today's market where you can't pick up ANYTHING without being exposed to filth.

Gayle Buck did a good job keeping my attention, and I enjoyed the story on the surface, but I would have liked to seen a little more characterization - we really didn't get into the characters heads at all. As a result, the story came off with a lack-lustre shine.

What I learned: To stay true to the time period the story was written and keep the language, customs, and mannerisms consistent throughout the story. Doing this helps keep the reader firmly trapped in the fictional world we work so hard to create.

Moral: Romance without passion is too sweet for my tastes.

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