Monday, February 25, 2013

The Bad Luck Wedding Night

The title:  The Bad Luck Wedding Night
The author: Geralyn Dawson
Publication: Pocket Books, 2001
Got it from: Fremont Books, 2008

I haven't read any of the other books in the Bad Luck Wedding series or anything else by Geralyn Dawson, but I picked this one up because it sounded interesting.

Sarah and Nicholas Ross have the most dreadful wedding night ever.  She's a 16-year-old shrinking virgin, he's an inexperienced 18-year-old, and let's just say it doesn't end well.  After a big misunderstanding (and a painful sex scene), Nick ends up leaving his bride in Texas to inherit his family title in England (duke? earl? I can't remember).  He ends up becoming a British spy while Sarah teams up with a bunch of other women to run a wedding planning business.  Yes, you guessed it - the other women all get their own novels!

For the most part I enjoyed this book.  I loved how the beginning is taken up with some of Sarah and Nick's letters over the course of eight years,and how they get to know each other and fall in love this way. (Confession: I am a huge sucker for epistolary novels.  Even more so ones where people fall in love through letters).  I really liked the development of Sarah's character, how she goes from being a frankly annoying 16-year-old to an independent and self-assured woman.  Nick's character I'm not so sure about, he was a bit overbearing at times.  He has his redeeming moment when he realizes he isn't going to be able to woo Sarah in person so he decides to woo her through sexy letters that he leaves for her at night.

Here's the thing about this book: holy crap there are a lot of sisters.  See, Nick was raised by a Scottish family and he has a bunch of adopted Scottish sisters and he also has a bunch more of his real  English sisters.  Which makes approximately 98 sisters.  The sisters were great and I enjoyed the way they sided with Sarah, but man I had a hard time keeping them straight.  Add to the fact that later on Sarah's girl friends from Texas show up and I was completely lost.  Also, there's a subplot about an attempt to blow up Queen Victoria that has a really, really, and I mean really silly resolution.  Oh yes, and throw in a revenge storyline where the sisters try to get rid of Nick's supposed fiancee, the bitchy Lady Steele.  (Sarah hilariously and purposefully calls her by the wrong name throughout the book: Lady Iron, Lady Brass, etc.)

I would probably rate this book a B+.  It was quite entertaining even if the plot was kind of crazy and there was a lot thrown in there.  It's funny and light and didn't cause me too much angst.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Honor Bound

The title:  Honor Bound
The authors: Mary Alice and John Downie
Publication: Oxford University Press Canada, 1971
Got it from: Hannelore's, 2009

The Loyalist immigration to Canada is the backdrop for this delightful 1970's children's book.  Miles and Patience Avery are persecuted for their family's loyalty to King George III in their home town of Philadelphia at the end of the Revolutionary War.  When their father returns from fighting, the family has to flee in the night.  The first part of the novel is a travel adventure as the Averys try to make it safely to the Canadian border.  Their journey is fraught with danger, including a run-in with a two-faced Rebel innkeeper.  Once safely in Cataraqui (now Kingston, Ontario) their troubles are not over.  A conceited and vengeful army captain tries to make life as difficult possible for them, and the spectre of their land's former owner, a notorious thief named Grimble, hangs over them.  There is a lot of description of the incredible hardships of early settler life, but there is also joy such as a pioneer Christmas celebration and when a local boy is taught to read.  And there is the continued search for the Averys' missing sister, Honor, from whom the book gets its name.

I have actually been interested in reading this book for a long time.  The first chapter was presented as a story in one of my elementary school readers.  (If you went to school in Canada in the 1980's and 90's, you might remember it).  For some reason, I was never able to find a copy until I stumbled across one at a used book store a few years ago - ironically, a discarded school library book.  The story is quick and enjoyable with lots of fascinating details about what life was like for the poor Loyalists who had to give up beloved homes to eke out a living in the wilderness.  Being told from the children's perspectives helped soften some of the harshness of their conditions, as kids are always able to make fun and play wherever they are.    Still, it wouldn't be the life for me, unless it's safely from my armchair.