Friday, January 7, 2011

Then Comes Seduction by Mary Balogh ***

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet, #2)Then Comes Seduction by Mary Balogh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm conflicted about this book. I wrote a longer review on my blog. Basically, narrator Anne Flosnik is finally starting to read at a normal pace (yay!) but also showed signs of being too involved. She embarrassed me during the wedding night consummation scene!! And not because it was that hot, mind you - it was because she got as involved as our heroine supposedly did! I don't mind hearing a hot love scene narrated well, but I do mind feeling like I'm eavesdropping on a private moment.

Beyond the narration, though, the storyline had me confused and frustrated. I kept waiting for our lovely heroine to develop some backbone and stand up to the hero for his rakehell ways, and when she finally (sort of) did, it was too little, too late, and the narrator got so emotional I felt the need to pass her a tissue.

My basic conflict about the series is this: would I have enjoyed it more if I had read it? I just can't decide if Flosnik's narration changes the way the story unfolds or not. I never felt the development of love between the protagonists.

And yet, I didn't hate it, so it gets stuck in 3 star hell - mediocre, ok, liked it well enough, yawn.

(what follows is my first pass on reviewing it, only in this blog:)

I'm just not sure what to make of this book. Let me make a list...

Good: Flosnik read faster. She wasn't nearly as plodding and, well, obnoxious, as in other books I've heard her narrate. That made for a much, much better listen.

Bad: She really got into the emotions of the characters. Frankly, I thought she was going to fake an orgasm during the wedding night consummation scene. And I wanted to pass her a handkerchief when Katherine started wailing in the woods, she seemed so upset herself.

That leads me to the next part of my review. Was this plot hard to follow or what? First, we have the drunken rake, making a completely ridiculous wager about our heroine, Katherine. Second, we have Katherine, a completely green naif, just wandering into the dark woods alone with him and letting him almost slide into home base in a matter of minutes. She thinks maybe she has missed out on love because she hasn't allowed herself to feel danger. This makes me think she goes willingly into the dark with said rake (our hero, Jasper). Nope, she was just too naive and stupid to make sense of what she was doing. He decides at the last minute, completely out of character and for no reason that I can make any sense of at all, to throw the wager and lose, leaving her gasping for release and practically begging him to keep going.

Now, I thought, she will become the clever heroine and make him want her. Nope. They are separate for 3 years.

OK, NOW there will be a reason for them to actually fall in love. They flirt a little, and just when you think they will start to fall in love BAM! Spoiler? A ninny of a character somehow creates a scandal which brings about their having to marry, even though now she hates him. Or something.

Was this meandering storyline because of the narration, or was it actually a meandering storyline?

Now they are married, and on the wedding night - where the poor narrator got so involved I was almost embarrassed - another wager creeps in, and they agree to remain celibate after The First Consummation as part of the wager. (WTF?) I just want to mention that, considering she was still (technically) a virgin, not much was made of it - like, uh, the stuff you think of with virgins. And despite his love-making technique of a couple of kisses then The Main Course, she got quite involved (or at least the narrator did). The next time they make love - her second time, 3 or 4 weeks later - she is a practiced rider, if you get my drift. (shakes head) Again, not much in the way of foreplay for this rakehell. Just git 'er done. Yee haw.

Plot: rake almost ravishes innocent heroine, but doesn't; 3 years go by, and they meet again; no one, including either of them, knows why they continue to be seen together but dang if that doesn't make a scandal, which produces a forced marriage; heroine spouts a lot of long winded psychobabble about why he is like he is; there's some whiny, mean distant relatives involved that create additional conflict; the book ends without any real resolution of that storyline, but the hero and heroine have each professed love (and are already married). The End.

In spite of my snarky review, I didn't hate it. I just didn't really love it, and when it ended, I thought: wait a minute, what about CHARLOTTE? (maybe I fell asleep and missed that resolution) So, 3 stars, and it has occurred to me that maybe I should speed up the player for the next book to really get Flosnik's storytelling going at a clip.

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