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  • Great Characters, Mediocre Writing

    “Had they been other people, perhaps they could have seen if they could make each other happy.” This book has a perfect hero: strong, intelligent, sexy, charming, loving and noble. (I’d run away with him myself tomorrow!) This book has a fantastic heroine: smart, feisty, devoted, kind, brave and strong. They are amazing together and are an adorable couple. I loved their interactions, their amusing conversations, the way they respected each other, believed in each other and how from the very beginning they already cared about each other. The book also has an interesting and engaging, though not necessarily original, plot: educated, dashing highwayman meets young, independent dowager viscountess, and are immediately attracted to each other. They engage in a series of exciting, sometimes dangerous adventures, have lots of steamy sex, fall in love, etc. This should have been a great book. Unfortunately it fell drastically short and the fault lies completely with the author’s poor writing skills as well as an apparent absence of any editing whatsoever. There are so many consistency errors it is ridiculous. Dev and Cress, the hero and heroine, constantly repeated themselves, usually oblivious to the fact that they had already said it before. He told the story of how he got his first ship three different times and each time acted like it was the first. They also contradicted themselves again and again, changing their beliefs, opinions and ideas so often I got whiplash. For example, one second she’s thinking how grateful she is she hadn’t worn her stays and then suddenly he’s removing the stays she supposedly wasn’t wearing. The worst was when Cress tells Dev she loves him right to his face and also tells her sister and brother several times but then, many chapters later, ponders in her thoughts wondering if she might be able to love him one day. The timeline is inconsistent. It was incredible annoying and extremely confusing. For example, on one page she teases him about making her wait five days to meet again but then a few pages later he’s excited that they would be together again in two days. Overnight many weeks pass, then it’s supposedly months later when suddenly she’s thinking wow, I’ve known him a month but based on each actual events only a few weeks have gone by. This happens throughout the book and yet based on the dates in chapter one and the epilogue the entire book covers less than a full year. The anachronisms were rampant. Modern expressions abounded. I question if the writer did any real research into the time period or if she relied upon knowledge gathered reading other historical romance novels. Some of the events made little sense. Her brother was arrested for gaming and put in prison. He didn’t use his title to prevent a scandal? No way would this have ever happened. No nobleman would allow himself to go to prison for gambling, especially when he ends up sentenced to hang. (Let’s not get into how no one would ever be sentenced to hang for gambling to begin with.) The excuse of avoiding a scandal which would ruin not only his own good name but his sister’s is ridiculous. Being arrested for gambling was a very minor issue. If he had just told them who he was they would have possibly fined him but more likely they would have just let him go. Even if they had taken him to jail he would have been out in no time and the most this would have caused was some minor gossiping and chuckles, perhaps a bit of teasing from his peers at White’s. The final issue I have with the poor writing is in regards to the sex scenes. The author chose to make them explicit. I have no problem with that. I love hot, steamy sex in my romance novels. The problem I do have is the awkward, clinical and sometimes dull way they were written. I know writing good sex scenes can be difficult and I also understand this is her first book. But until she gets better at writing them maybe she should shorten them and tone them down. Sometimes they started well, romantic and sexy, but then they became uncomfortable, confusing and a couple of times even gross. Rather than add to the romance and the emotions, helping the hero and heroine as they fall in love, most of the sex scenes in this book seemed more obligatory, as if the author felt they needed to be included. As much as there was wrong with this book three stars is very generous. I only gave it that many for the reasons I mentioned at the beginning of this review. I truly adored Dev and Cress, as well as their families and friends, and the plot had so much potential. Hopefully one day if the author’s writing skills improve she will do a complete re-write, find an editor and re-release Cress and Dev’s love story the way it should be told. I kind of feel they deserve it. I received a free copy of this book via Evernight and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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