Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What A Woman Needs by Caroline Linden ***

I actually finished this last night, and now - sheesh - cannot remember much of it. To be honest, it took a long time to read it, a few pages in bed every night for days and days, so I guess it wasn't that great. This is, I believe, Linden's first book, not in the series I started over xmas.

On reading the book blurb, I'm now remembering: Stuart Drake (the hero) has been cut off from funds by his father, who thinks him a ne'er-do-well because of some gossip that got out of hand. Instead of trying to straighten that out, he decides to purchase an estate that will earn money. Unfortunately, he has a mortgage payment to make before the farm brings in any cash, so he decides he will try to marry a rich heiress to tide him over. He is, after all, a gentleman, and will inherit once the old man kicks over, and he's good looking and all that. He's something of a catch. He's almost got one reeled in, except that her guardian aunt - ancient beast that she is - doesn't approve.

Then he meets said ancient beast.

Charlotte (the heroine) is now the only family left for Susan, even though she doesn't consider herself much of a role model. When she was young, she was seduced by an older man and when found, her father sent her packing. She never returned home, traveled Europe, married an Italian, and basically lived a rather decadent life for a woman who is actually only about 30. Now that her older brother has died and left his daughter an orphan, she wants to turn over a new leaf and raise her right - and keep her away from fortune-hunting libertines like Stuart Drake!

The she meets said Stuart Drake.

Well, there's some immediate attraction followed by righteous anger, and young Susan's hopes to marry Stuart are dashed. Then Susan leaves a note that she has run away to get married, but it isn't with Stuart. So Charlotte and Stuart end up joining forces to find her, and well, it's a different plot for me but somehow either because I was too tired to read much at one time or because it wasn't that interesting, I just took too long to finish it. I would open the book at night and try to remember what the story was and who the characters were (I ended up going back several pages one night) before I took up reading from where I left off. There was quite a lot going on - if Susan eloped, with whom?? and if not, was she abducted? and a sort of confusing side plot of why Stuart's father really cut him off, and an Italian opera singer, and some fake antiquities, and...

3 stars, not bad, just not that great either

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