For The Love Of Lila
by Jennifer Malin, historical (2002)
Leisure, $5.99, ISBN 0-8439-4997-X

Finally, I reach the last page of For The Love Of Lila and close the book with a huge sigh of relief. How long has it been? Three weeks? It feels like an eternity trying to finish this book.

This is the second Jennifer Malin book I've read, and while this one is a much better experience than Eternally Yours, both books are written in such a way that I find passionless, bloodless even. The characters seem to be going through the motions of falling in love, the plot trundles along like an automaton, and I find too many more interesting excuses to put this book down. Heck, when I decide to clean the fridge rather than to go through Chapter 11, this book is in serious trouble.

25-year old English heroine Lila Covington (bluestocking, Daddy's girl, etc) asks Tristan Wyndam to help her gain access to her trust fund. She wants to move in with a cousin in Paris and spends her time writing novels and living like an independent woman. Minus the freelove and drugs thing, naturally. He tells her that she cannot go that far unescorted, they end up going to Paris together, and it's love.

The same old routine ensues. Attraction. Resistance. She doesn't want to marry. He's more of an old school nerdy kind of guy. Sex. Morning after regrets. Angst. Attraction. Resistance. It's all so mechanical to me, and it's just a matter of time (or pages) before the plot trundles to a very convenient closure. I didn't even go "Huh? That's so convienient, hmmmph!", instead I am just relieved that now I can go do something, anything, more fun than this book.

Lila is a decent heroine actually, despite her flimsy Wallstonecraft aspirations, and Tristan is not the usual arrogant rake hero. He's actually a charming mix of nerdiness and sensitive hero. But it's just too bad that Ms Malin cannot bring these characters to life. The prose, the plot, everything feels desultory and forced here. For the love of bejeebus, I hope the author can rachet up the excitement a few more notches in her next book. The characters show promises here, but none is delivered. Now ain't that a pity?

Rating: 56

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