Jove, $7.99, ISBN 0-515-13654-9
Historical Romance, 2004
This book is in trouble when a secondary character’s story becomes the most interesting aspect of The Sherbrooke Twins and I will have to buy the next book to get this guy’s story. As a story for fans of this author’s Sherbrooke clan to revisit good times and old friends, this isn’t a bad book – it could have been much, much worse, especially for a Catherine Coulter book – but there’s a “filler” feel to this book, as if it’s just a throwaway appetizer for better things yet to come.
Also, I don’t really keep up with the Sherbrooke clan and there’s a large cast of characters here. The story doesn’t really engage my emotions that much, so I’m not too invested in trying to figure out who’s who. All I’m aware of is that the two twins in question, Jason and James, are children of Alexandra and Douglas Sherbrooke of The Sherbrooke Bride, and they are now grown up and ready to rumble.
This book’s major romance involves James Sherbrooke and the hellion tomboy next door, Corrie Tyburn-Barrett. This is a standard “she loves him forever, he sees her as a little girl, and now she will do stupid things to prove that she’s grown up” story with very predictable characterization. The author uses her favorite “sickbed courtship” routine to get these two hopelessly compromised.
But nearly taking over the entire story is the B-plot of someone trying to kill Douglas. This is the least satisfying aspect of the story because it is not suspenseful and it is basically a episodic montage of every character past and present coming forth to pledge their love and loyalty to the Mighty, Mighty Sherbrookes. The author also introduces romantic subplots for Jason and the butler (no, not with each other), but everything is shoved aside for a very dull mystery, to a point that the Sherbrooke twins become secondary characters in this story. Why is this book called The Sherbrooke Twins again?
On the somewhat bright side, the lack of romance also means that the irritating creatures James and Corrie don’t have much space to drive me crazy with their childish antics.
The only bright spark here is Jason, the roguish and more interesting twin, who ends the story singing along to Eamon’s Fuck It if that song was ever released in 1800’s England. I find myself liking that fellow a lot and in fact, the party actually started, so to speak, when I read about his open-ended fate in this story and wonder when Jason’s story will be coming out. Then I remember that this is Catherine Coulter I am thinking about, who has over the years evolved into that eccentric Aunt Hilda whose quality of works have become hopelessly unpredictable.
Maybe fans invested in the Sherbrooke clan will enjoy this book better than me, I don’t know. I do know though that there is not enough romance in this book to satisfy me and the mystery isn’t interesting enough to make up for the lack. Can a book be considered good when the best fun I’ve had from it is imagining Jason Sherbrooke drunk on a ship to, er, somewhere, singing off-key to Eamon’s really naughty and rude but oh-so deliciously cathartic song?