Monday, June 25, 2012
Review: Lady Alexandra's Excellent Adventure
Author: Sophie Barnes
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Pub Date: June 2012, HarperCollins Publishers
Source: Purchased from BN.com
Synopsis (from BN.com)
It's going to be a wild ride
Lady Alexandra Summersby is not your average society miss. Not only is she more likely to climb a tree than she is to wear a dress, but she has also sworn off marriage. Alex loves taking chances, which is how she finds herself embroiled in a secret mission as she races across the country with the Earl of Trenton. But Alexandra is about to discover that the real danger lies not in duels, but in her completely unexpected reaction to Lord Trenton's company.
Michael Ashford, Earl of Trenton, is a man of duty. Honorable, charming, and a hit with the ladies, he's never had trouble staying focused—until now. Lady Alexandra is like no other woman he's ever met, and suddenly the prospect of marriage seems far more appealing. Now, to convince Alexandra that a life together could be an adventure like no other .
I really ought to give up trying to find other Regency Romances that will measure up to Georgette Heyer's, which I tend to hold as the standard for the genre. These days, I know not to expect that they will be the clean reads that Heyer's books were, but I always hold out hope that they will have the detail, plot, and wit that make Heyer's stories stand out. Sadly for me, Lady Alexandra's Excellent Adventure falls short both as a work of Historical Fiction and a Romance.
The storyline and the events around it (and frequently, the people's reactions to said events) are so absolutely ridiculous and implausible that I found myself rolling my eyes almost constantly. Barnes tries to capture some of the language of the time but includes little else that makes you feel as if this is supposed to be set in the Regency period. Honestly, it's a modern story that is trying to masquerade as a Regency Romance. On occasion, there is some witty banter between the characters, but I didn't find that it made up for the rest of the book. Once I hit the halfway point, I skimmed most of the rest of the story to see how it played out.
Personally, I think anyone who regularly reads romance (or even someone who doesn't) would not be particularly impressed with that part of the story, either. I didn't find Alexandra's and Michael's relationship to be particularly touching or romantic. Not only that, but after just one day of knowing each other, it is implied that all of these "deep" feelings and emotions are supposed to have surfaced within each of them, causing them to question their own personal opinions of marriage, blah, blah, blah. Seriously? More like deep feelings of lust. At least try to drag out the tension and the budding relationship for a little longer and try to make me feel like Alexandra and Michael are developing true, honest feelings of love for each other.
Perhaps if either the storyline or the romance itself had been executed better, I could have bumped up my rating of this book. But as it stands now, I wouldn't recommend Lady Alexandra's Excellent Adventure to anyone looking for Historical Romance/Fiction or any kind of Romance. Edited to add: I probably should have realized from the title alone that this was going to be a less-than-spectacular read.