Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-0-266662-8
Historical Romance, 2017
Eleanor Howlett, the second oldest daughter of the Duke of Marymount, is to marry Bennett Raybourn, Lord Carson and the eldest son of the Marquis of Wheatley. To her family, this marriage is important as the eldest sister ran off with a most unsuitable man (to put it mildly), so Eleanor has to marry well to reduce the impact of that scandal from affecting her young sisters too. However, she bumps into a naughty man enjoying his favorite illustrated erotica in a shadowy corner of the bookstore – don’t ask me whether I can see both his hands, because I really don’t want to know the answer myself – and because he’s hot and says some rakish things, her heart beats faster, Well, he turns out to be Alexander, Bennett’s younger brother, so ain’t that a doozy.
Lady Be Bad is marketed and titled to give me this impression that it’s another story of some wide-eyed scholarly virgin going through the checklist of “being bad” (the usual run of the mill stuff like reading erotica, letting some rake take her past third base, and then refusing to marry him because she’s never going to put out to someone who doesn’t love her… oh wait, etc), but it’s actually some kind of modern-day homage to some Jane Austen’s works. As someone who doesn’t care too much about Jane Austen unless the movie adaptation features hunks wearing nothing doing their thing, I’m not too certain which work that is, but I’m sure it’d be either Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility. And I say “modern day homage” because the story is soaked in language, sensibilities, and tone that… well, not just contemporary, but one “OMG” short of being straight out Valley Girl at times.
And that’s basically the biggest reason why it takes me this long to finish this book. The author imbues her main characters, especially Eleanor, with a tendency to monologue and converse in a way comparable to people who simply have to say something, anything to fill in any moments of silence. Details are gone over again and again – the erotica thing that Eleanor is shown by Alex in the bookstore keeps being mentioned and described even late into the story, or the scandalous details of her sister’s elopement – and sentences tend to be long and circuitous. For far too often, I get this unfortunate impression that these people are just blathering.
Here is a typical example:
Not that she could blame them; their mother was The! Most! Excitable! Lady! and her conversation was mostly filled with exclamation of wonder. Their father was more likely to grunt than to say anything, and Ida was prone to looking down her nose at everyone who wasn’t actively engaged in college pursuit.
In short, their parents were silly or non-verbal and their sister was a pendant.
The second paragraph is unnecessary, as it’s just more words to repeat what was said in the previous paragraph. Come to think of it, the early paragraph is unnecessary as well, because I can come to the same conclusion by observing how these characters behave. Furthermore, the author include so many conversations about trivial things that add little to the story, and the end result is like listening to someone prattling non-stop at the other end of the phone. After a while, my attention starts to wander, and eventually, I can’t even muster the enthusiasm to end this review in an interesting manner.