The description of this novel was interesting and had great potential. I was hoping for an exploration of the emotional depths of a precise and self contained man who has buried his humanity in service to his country. I was also hoping for the slow maturation of a young and optimistic woman as she learns the complexities of human nature and relationships and the ambiguity of morality. What a disappointment! This is one of the most cliché ridden books I have read in a long time. Every single character is no more than one dimensional. The "shocking act of violence" (which should have been the cold assassination of an enemy of the state witnessed inadvertently by his new wife,)was the hero defending himself from an assassin sneaking up on him. He later ends up again killing someone else who is beating a woman and attacking him with a knife. The heroine, with strong 21st century sensibilities, is convinced that he could have defended himself without using excessive force. What a twit! First this story isn't in the 21st century. Second, even today if you are being attacked you have a right to defend yourself. One of my major complaints about any book is when an author writes a historical novel with no historical accuracy. In the time this story takes place no one talked the way these people talk and upper class people didn't behave the way these people behave. There was no battered women's shelter with space for 50 people anywhere. When the heroine meets the wives of the hero's friends she spills her guts in about two minutes about everything, which is not how people behave. They in turn spill theirs. I would hate to be in a room with these women. TMI alert! This was a terrible premise for this disaster of a book. I ended up skipping about a third of it. By the time I was less than half way through I knew the heroine and her maid would be kidnapped, the hero and his friends would rescue them, the maid and the valet would end up together so I just skipped to the last few pages. Believe me, I didn't miss anything except probably some sex scenes and even the ones early in the book were annoying. Everything about this book, everything, is too pat, too easy, too contrived and just plain cartoonish.
Usually I am very tolerant of the most annoying heroines but Lauren was beyond my understanding even with pages and pages of analysis of the psyche of the two main characters. She was 17 - married for a year - someone breaks into the house - husband kills him - horrified she leaves the next morning - he lets her go and thus begins a ten year separation. In ten years she never asks him what happened. I found her so distasteful I really had a hard time finishing the novel. I read the series to this one and will read the next one but this text does not say much for love. I find that sad. If it were not for the most silly seduction in world literature, they woud never had gotten together. The book was well written as are all the books I have read by the author. Now I am going to try to forget I ever read it.
I have read most of the Lost Lords books and thoroughly enjoyed them. Much of MJP'S charm is the depth and complexity of her characters. This time, I think that the characters are a bit shallow and i did not feel very much at all in the normally heart rending passages. In fact some of the events in the book were so inevitable that I found myself thumbing through the book to have them happen so I ( and the characters) could move on.
I am not used to religious discussions in romance novels and one of the more important threads in this book is religion. I am a Christian and happily devout. I believe that sex without love (in life or fiction) and books like 50 Shades are unfortunate.
I was happy to find an introduction of Christian values in a favorite author's book, but the comparison between Presbyterian and Methodist in nearly every chapter and as part of the story line was a bit too detailed for me. I was happy to learn the difference btwn the two, but I would have chosen a different venue.
MJP is smart and her Books reflect her intelligence and compassion. I don't find the Major Dilemma off putting because of the religious overtones, I was even happy to see Christianity not demonized or mocked as it is popular to do currently. But I thought that 'this is one of those books where a few conversations would have fixed the initial problem, the estrangement was way too long and not that valid in the world of romance.'
MJP was very brave to discuss religion in a relationship and in a mainstream Romance Novel. Religious arguments are valid relationship difficulties but i have never seen her write such silly and one dimensional characters and rely on outside forces for predictable events.
Also, *spoiler?* It was fairly obvious that the Bad Guy would follow them to London. What Spymaster wouldn't figure that out???
I was just disappointed because MJP books are usually much more interesting and the character arc is usually substantial. As I read, I kept finding new situations that were just confusing in their importance and helpfulness to the story. It was like a fruit salad that had vegetables and macaroni in it....all good but don't know if they mixed well enough.
She has been writing YA fiction lately, maybe she just didn't make the transition back to us?
When you pick up an MJP'S book, you know that it will not be a fast read because she layers her characters so beautifully, but in this case she dumbed them down. It is the first time that I have been so disappointed in her work. If you want a great read, choose almost any of her other books, with exception of Carousel of Hearts (?) ALL of her books are much better.
I am so sorry, MJP! Love you, love your books, just not this one. writing about this book makes me feel guilty because in the broad scope of MJP's work, she is a truly reliable author with sound and interesting characters.
I've been a fan of Mary Jo Putney and have purchased a good number of her books, but loathed this "Not Quite Anything" book. The premise was interesting, but in actuality, the heroine (?) was an immature twit, not quite sanctimonious, but close enough to be vastly irritating. But deeper than an irritating main character, I found Ms. Putney's other characters simply sketched, without depth and simply unbelievable in their actions. While set in the early 1800s, the characters sensibilities were more current to our modern culture. James, Lord Kirkland could have been very interesting, but was never allowed to develop any depth...and so goes the novel.