Archive for the ‘Americana’ Category

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 299 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Americana/Straight Romance

Publisher: Mills & Boon Historical Romance

Author Website: didn’t find anything, what a shame

Grade: B-

North Carolina, 1884: Caleb Pitt, solitary lighthouse keeper, once believed love was eternal as the sea, for Alanna Patterson promised him for ever. But, despite her vow, she left him to drown in disgrace. now, years later, she’s reappeared in his life, beautiful as ever … and just as seductive.

The passion Alanna shared with Caleb has always burned in her memory, and now, faced with marrying another, she has returned to discover if Caleb still holds any smouldering feelings for her. Is it time to put tragedy behind them and find lasting love?

When I discovered that the libraries here in Glasgow are literally stuffed with all kinds of Mills & Boon goodies I mobilized my email buddies and asked for good historical recommendations. The Lightkeeper’s Woman was the first one in this mini-project.

Forget the blurb, it’s simply stupid, especially the second part.  …and now, faced with marrying another, she has returned to discover if Caleb still holds any smouldering feelings for her. GAG GAG, BLEARGH. Blurbs like that are a sure reason for me not to touch such books, thankfully there are people out there who are more resistant than yours truly.
First of all, big HUGE brownie points for the setting and the hero’s occupation. A lightkeeper *sigh*, I know in reality a lightkeeper’s job is far from romantic as part of the story reveals all too clearly, but oh my, all my girly hormones are melting in delight :-)

If it was for the hero and the plot idea I would have given the story a straight A, but Alanna, a heroine that sometimes flirts too much with not being likable, made me mark this book as B-. The reasons why I didn’t feel too close with her are totally subjective, and in some points – I admit – rather silly. I guess for many other readers this story could still be a real jackpot book.

First of all, I have bad connotations with the name Alanna. Who ever invented it is not my favorite pal. Secondly, Alanna used to be a spoiled woman who could spend whole days pouting because of some fashion issues. I have come upon a number of heroines who cleaned up nicely after such an idle past , Alanna only convinced me partly. Mainly, I think because her behaviour turned into (sometimes) such saint and angelic dimensions that I could only blink in incredulity.

Admittedly in the two years she separated from the hero, lost her father to suicide and all her worldly possessions to creditors she changed a lot, but a healthy dose of egoism and consideration for herself would have made her more believable.

Still, Mary Burton is a delightful new discovery and I will definitely read more from her work. Hopefully she has some other books with an interesting setting like this one!


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Copyright: 2003

Pages: 320 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Americana/Straight Romance

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Series:Grayson Brothers #2

Grade: C

When Kyle Grayson accused his competitor Tom Drake of treachery, he never imagined the man would die in his arms. Wracked with guilt, Kyle marries Tom’s daughter Amelia and vows to resurrect her father’s lumberyard. Though hard and cynical when it comes to love, he is all too aware of his desire for his beautiful wife-sensing her secret longing for his touch, her fear of his passion…and the unspoken secrets weighing down on their marriage.

I wouldn’t have finished this book, hadn’t I been sitting in a train without anything else to read. Nothing’s worse than not having anything to read on a long train ride, that’s why I stumbled through this story about Kyle and Amelia.

I put The Longing on my wishlist thanks to a review over at AAR and its (nowadays) unusual setting. I have a weakness for Americanas, so I am always eager to find out about new authors in this genre and hidden treasures.

To be fair, I do understand what makes this book so special to some readers. Wendy Lindstrom possesses a fine craftsmanship and ability to create characters and describe their lives. For me, it probably was an “it’s not you, it’s me” book.

From the beginning, Amelia, the heroine is put into a situation that makes her utterly dislikable to me, even though I DO (kind of) understand her acting and reasoning. Amelia is a school teacher and restricted to the severest rules of deportment. When Kyle calls on her to tell her about her father’s death, they are discovered and Amelia consequently tricks Kyle into marrying her by telling their “unwanted” visitors about his supposed proposal. Amelia has been ruined in the past and the only future she envisions for herself is a restricted life as school teacher. She desperately wants to marry and be a wife, and, in a way, Kyle’s visit seems to be her last chance.

Since his father’s death Kyle has been responsible for his brothers and mother, and to keep a roof over his beloved ones with a struggling family business. He has denied himself to go to university and now again kind of sacrifices himself in order to protect Amelia. Because he feels guilty and responsible for her father’s death he sooner or later would have offered for Amelia voluntarily, this way, however, the marriage is just another burden to his life.

This is just the description of the very beginning of the story. While it continues, many more facets of guilt come into play and just made me gnashing my teeth.

I know Amelia is in a horrible situation, especially considering a woman’s position in society in the late 1900s. Yet nevertheless, her acting made me dislike her immensely. Kyle was all in all a much more agreeable character, but after a while he got martyrdom qualities and I just couldn’t put up with him anymore.

There’s definitely too much guilt in this story and concerning my reading future I don’t feel very tempted to try Lindstrom’s writing out again.

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