Signet, $3.99, ISBN 0-451-40831-4
Historical Romance, 2000
This is my first Janet Lynnford novel, and alas, Bride of Hearts, nice cover apart, is one bore of a read. I’m sorry, but it’s boring.
The story is about this super captain of Queen Elizabeth, called Matthew Cavendish. He has a son, 13-year old Carew, whom he isn’t very pleased to see preferring the company of one Lady Cordelia Wentworth, whom the kid treats as his surrogate mommy. When he saves Cordelia from a sniper, sparks fly. Or are supposed to. This story is as electrifying as a broken tooth when it comes to passion.
The main cause of the problem is the absolute flatness of the main characters. Especially Cordelia – what’s up with these weirdo heroines? – who is as plastic as they come. What do you do when you’ve just survived a sniper’s sneak attack? She feels hurt because this handsome savior of hers obviously wants her out of his sight – he just wants to save her for the challenge! Ooh, the outrage. Then she wonders, “Could it be a sniper that tried to kill her? Really? Oh. Okay. On with my life.”
And this woman painstakingly tells me that while she taught the Court kids to pass the time using sleight-of-hand card games, she takes great pains to “investigate”, to make sure that the kids she teaches these “dastardly games” to will never ever abuse their knowledge. I guess she walks around asking their parents, “Does Bobo and Suzie cheat when they play poker? Tell me now!”
Cordelia isn’t real. Or if she is, she has gone over the extreme making sure that I, the reader, will never ever find fault with her. Proper, fearless (stupidly so), and absolutely boring.
Matthew is haunted by the death of his wife, whom he feels responsible for her death (at childbirth), thirteen years ago. That’s right, thirteen years ago. In the meantime, I don’t see him practising safe sex with his harlots. Anyway, throughout the whole story he is either grouchy or gritting his teeth in irritation.
The chemistry between the two is like waiting for a 90-year old grandpa to succeed to passing a thread through a needle. It’s frustrating, because the passion never arrives. These two are more interested in posturing, she in her ethereal waifu-ness and he in his grouchy bear act, than to generate any genuine sparks.
Bride of Hearts is more of the talk-talk-talk school of passion. Maybe traditional Regency fans will like it better. Me, I am still trying to get rid of the rigor mortis in my bum.