Harlequin Historical, $4.50, ISBN 0-373-28858-1
Historical Romance, 1995
Charlotte Trowbridge is a nice, sweet vicar’s daughter well-known for her stubborn nature. One day, the stiff-lipped Maximilian, Earl of Wycliffe, drops by her rowdy home and she falls head over heels in love with him. But she is a dreamer and he swears by the twin tenets of Punctuality and Routine. In short, apart from their shared passion in Greek mythology, they have very little in common.
Wycliffe is quite smitten however – those hair, those lips, those… er, never mind – and when he finds her in London for a Season, he isn’t a happy man. Especially when the young bucks come sniffing around Charlotte, and damn him if he knows why he is so upset.
Now, The Vicar’s Daughter has a wonderful first half. Charlotte’s family really comes alive under Ms Simmon’s skilful descriptive and lively prose. The author has a wonderful knack of describing charming little details such as the kids’ food fight and the glutton of a befuddled brother-in-law that I, along with Wycliffe, can’t help but to fall under the spell of the Trowbridge bunch.
Unfortunately, the story soon runs out of steam. Not that this is a bad book – the prose and vivid characters are so real that it brings a big grin to my face – but the fact that it soon loses steam makes my disappointment increases tenfold. It’s well written, but the last half just isn’t worthy of the splendid first half. The whole story becomes bogged down in repetitive monotony – Wycliffe just wouldn’t loosen up for too long, Charlotte’s starry-eyed adoration of him soon becomes inexplicable. Oh well.
The Vicar’s Daughter, however, is one of the most fun books I’ve read, the lousy second half notwithstanding.