by Kathryn Smith, historical (2002)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81611-3
There is a "completely off" feeling I get about A Seductive Offer, "completely off" as in I can put down this book very easily and forget all about it. Or I can find myself rereading the same ten pages again and again because I keep forgetting what I have read. In short, this book doesn't seem able to draw and keep my attention.
The story can't be it. While it's nothing exceptional, it's nothing near the scale of ridiculous like some books I've read recently. The characters, while they can't make up their mind whether they want to be cookie-cutter sorts or extraordinarily different archetypes, aren't that irritating.
It's the writing, I decide. The writing seems to lack variation in rhythm or urgency, and there seem to be far too abrupt changes in moods and characterization (in short, too much telling and not enough showing) at times.
This story is about Balthazar Wycherly, Lord Braven - or Brave to everybody, including you and I - rescuing Rachel Ashton, a family friend of sorts, from a nasty marriage to a fat and lecherous nobleman. This takes place almost quarter way into the story, before the obligatory marriage-of-convenience thing takes place. This is followed by Rachel's nasty stepdaddy causing trouble, Rachel's attempt to get money to free her mother from nasty stepda, and of course, the usual shall-we-shag-or-keep-it-platonic routine. When he's willing, she isn't, when she's willing, he has baggages and secrets and guilts so he won't. So much trouble just for sex - the story of mankind, eh?
Like I said, the writing style seems off. Brave's realization that he loves Rachel takes place after some hot cuddles, in a magical instant of, oh, two short paragraphs. Same with Rachel - her emotional development occurs with the same urgency as the scene where she tries on a bonnet and realizes that she can't afford it, or with the same urgency where she walks around town... in short, the story's pace seems to be stuck at slow at all times, even when there is danger or moments of emotional drama.
At least that's my impression anyway. As it is, I find it very difficult to finish this book. There is always something more interesting to distract me, and this book, once put down, is too much out of sight, out of mind.
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