Adella J Harris, $4.99
Historical Romance, 2017
Lord Lynster Discovers mentions that the Battle of Trafalgar shortly ended before this story takes place, so I peg the story to take place in the very early 1800s. Up to that point, I’d had assumed the story takes place much earlier, perhaps during a time when everyone is at war to put their rear end onto the throne, as there are three “Traitor Lords” in this story – noblemen who are accused of conspiring against the Crown. The rest of the story is pretty much wallpaper where historical details are concerned, so I suspect that this story may not appease those seeking a more richly drawn setting.
Anyway, one of the accused decides to eat a bullet, leaving his son James as the new Earl of Lynster. James… is lost. Fortunately, the longtime butler Daniel Rivers is here to take care of everything. As are the family solicitors. Hence, the first half of the story moves at a glacial pace as the author details every single little thing these men do. I know Daniel and James will get down to business sooner or later, but my goodness, I wish I can just go to sleep and have someone wake me up when the grand buggery commences. Let’s see. Daniel undresses and goes to bed. Daniel lies on the bed and launches into some internal monologue about how he once kissed James and ooh, whether or not the other man remembers that muah muah muah moment. James mulls about how he doesn’t know what to do. They have breakfast the next morning. People come to visit James. Once again, James doesn’t know what to do.
It’s the author’s style – the narrative is certainly polished and readable, but it lacks that… spark, if you will, that makes the sentences feel vibrant and engaging. I have no issues with this style, but at the same time, I’m not enthused about it. It also doesn’t help that James is so hopeless. It’s like following a romance heroine trying to piece her life together without a man to think for her – this guy seems bewilderingly naïve and even child-like at times. Oh, Daniel is imprisoned under suspicion of killing his father! He must contact the solicitor… wait, he doesn’t know where the solicitor is. And so forth. As the eldest son and heir, shouldn’t James have received some kind of formal training or education on running things, or did he somehow sleep through all the classes?
He might not be able to send a note to Daniel, but perhaps he could send some comfort. He was very tempted to take the heart-shaped piece, but the round one with the fluted edge was larger and less likely to get either of them in trouble. James took a bit of the paper from the bottom of the box and wrapped the piece of marzipan. On an impulse, he pressed his lips to the wrapping. Hopefully, Daniel would feel some comfort from it.
Seriously? That man is rotting away in a terrible place and he’s behaving like his boyfriend is away on some kind of trip and he is just flailing around like a hapless, drowning rabbit? If I were Daniel, someone’s getting dumped hard the moment I’m out of jail. Then again, now that I think about it, there are worse fates than to be able to boss around and make decisions for an imbecile who happens to be an earl, hmm. Still, one has to love useless, hapless, clingy people to be enamored of James, and sadly, I’m not that person. It won’t be so bad if James grew up or become wiser as the story progresses, but he just flails around until the people around him prop him up again.
Is Lord Lynster Discovers a bad story? No, not really, it’s okay. At the same time, though, the pacing is too slow for my taste, and James certainly could be less of a hapless romance heroine sort. There are worse stories out there compared to this one, sure, but I also think there are better ones too.