Avon Impulse, $5.99, ISBN 978-0-06-229229-2
Historical Romance, 2014
I was in a good mood when I sat down to read Ellie Macdonald’s Louisa. The temperature was perfect, the day was bright, and I was feeling all good and lazy. By the time I finished this book, I felt as if I had been told by my internet provider that they were going bankrupt and there would be no more internet service for the rest of the year.
Basically, this is the story of Louisa Brockhurst who is always on the run. Recently, she settled down with the Governess Club, but she has to run again when her past catches up with her. She tries to make a living by working at an inn run by John Taylor – a giant muscular man with a bald head and a beard, which makes him a pretty different kind of hero, at least when it comes to looks – and ends up sleeping with the boss. This is true love, so put those jokes and accusations of unprofessional behavior away.
I have no idea what the author is trying to do here. Louisa is confrontational and judgmental to an obnoxious degree, constantly wagging her fingers at John and other men and telling them that they are not the boss of her, so stay out of her way. But the author at the same time has Louisa keeps needing the help of those guys, so I get a pattern of her being helped or rescued only to have her acting like an ungrateful cur afterward. You know the drift, I’m sure – she never asked for help, no one can tell her what to do, the fact that he shows concern for her safety only means that he is a patronizing ass, how dare he… and oops, and this is the part where she trips and almost brains herself out. Repeat and rinse.
I soon realize that she is on the run because she wants to avoid her brother. Apparently a while back she was almost raped by her brother’s friend, and she hit him, so she assumed that she killed him and immediately went on the run. In this story, her brother finds her, and expresses remorse at what happened. He claims that he has cleaned up his act, becomes more responsible, so he’d like her to give him another chance and come home again.
Her response? She is mad that John, whom she’d decided to announce to be her husband after all her previous “You can’t boss me! I am my own woman!” nonsense, doesn’t scold and berate her brother on her behalf. She is also annoyed when John tells her that it is up to her to decide whether she wants to go back to her brother. All along she had insisted that she should make her own decisions, and now she’s furious at John because he wants her to make the call. Apparently if he loves her, he will insist that she stay with him.
What is wrong with this woman? Mind you, Louisa is 25, but she behaves like a self-absorbed ninny who clearly has no idea what she wants but gets loud all the time anyway. In fact, she has no idea and doesn’t care that her disappearance caused the friends she left behind to be worried. It’s all about her. The author has a pretty good idea that her heroine is a prat, because various secondary characters sometimes call Louisa on her behavior. Yet, Louisa only gets defensive and argumentative when her behavior is called out, and this story ends without any epiphany or growing up. She remains an immature turnip from start to finish.
With all the problems with Louisa’s character, the last thing I need is her being in a permanent sarcastic mode, but that is indeed what is happening here. Sorry, but Louisa is not amusing or cute. She’s bratty, whiny, and incompetent. I swear, the author must be going out of her way to create the most disagreeable death-worthy heroine ever. I know, even the most loathsome creatures deserve love now and then, but that is what their parents are for. The only way this book could have been salvaged is if it had come with a free fork, so that I can use it to stab the book repeatedly as a form of stress relief therapy.