Signet, $3.99, ISBN 0-451-40760-1
Historical Romance, 1999
It took me a week to finish this book and that was after five valiant attempts. Day 1 had me snoring off and drooling onto page 34. Okay, maybe I was tired, I had a 14 hour day. Day 2 saw me snoring off and drooling onto page 56. Okay, maybe watching Barney the Purple Dinosaur with some brats had left some psychological scars that wore me out. Day 3 had me putting the book down at page 78 to watch TV. Day 4 I stopped at page 112 to go watch Dylan McDermott’s boxers also on TV. Day 5, I told myself to finish this book or die trying.
Shades of the Past isn’t bad, it’s just boring. I just can’t stay awake. When I reached the last page I felt as if I’ve been reading for years instead of hours.
Vanessa Wynters is a budding Victorian-era photographer. When her good friend and companion Lady Gwendolyn passes away, she is dragged screaming into Gwen’s family affairs. Gwen left her all of Gwen’s photography equipment and is persuaded by nice Cissy (the good Marrable sister) to set up studio in the place. Bad Marrable sister Majel plots. Big, brawny and hunky Viscount Adrian Marrable gets her in a tizzy while he investigates the reason behind his treacherous second wife’s accident (years after it happened!).
There’s a ghost that Vanessa is convinced to be Lady Gwen that appears in her photos… and these people talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. Adrian is suspected of murdering his second wife. Talk, talk, talk. Vanessa does some snooping and discovers some big family secrets. More talk. Then… zzzzz
Oops, sorry. For some reason I just cannot get myself involved in the story. The whole book seems devoid of any emotion, and the whole relationship between Vanessa and Adrian is as explosive as a broken toaster, and as interesting as watching trees grow. Perhaps other readers will get a reaction out of this book. Me, I feel like the Frankenstein monster after a while. Have to pinch myself to make sure I’m still alive.