Getting the job done, take 2

I read paper books in the daytime and the ebook at night so it doesn’t bother my husband while he’s trying to go to sleep, but I ran out of paper books in my house that I hadn’t read. On the recommendation of a friend, I picked up what was billed as an erotic historical Georgia romance (yeah, I’m into the Georgian thing right now) from the library.

Only now, halfway through, it hasn’t been erotic and I had the mystery figured out 75 pages ago. You know what really irks me? The clues to the mystery had some logical conclusions one could have/should have drawn from them and they weren’t even touched.

Here’s the thing: the heroine is posing as a man (a Beau Brummell type) for various and sundry reasons, and she is being sent threatening notes (er, cliched ransom notes of the type cut out of newspapers and glued to the notepaper, and have you seen some of the cool fonts made to mimic that?). Well, the author has made it clear that no one knows she’s a woman, but the threatening notes make it clear that the threatener does know she’s a woman and yet…neither the hero nor the heroine question this. Why?

So if you don’t make the first critical leap as to how someone knows this, then you can’t narrow down all the people who might have it in for her enough to do such a thing. Well. I made both leaps and then I leaped to the back of the book to get my agony over with. It wasn’t the agony of a reader who can think like Sherlock Holmes (because I can’t and there’s a reason why my villain is known to all and sundry from the git-go) and went through all these mental gymnastics to deduce the identity of the perpetrator. It was the agony of a reader who went, “And you people missed this 75 pages ago…why?”

And thus far, the sex has been almost nonexistent and we have devolved into the boring once the mystery’s solved. So… I put it down and I’m so not interested in picking it up again. Glad I got it from the library.

Then there’s the group of books I talked about in this post. I finished #1, finished #2 (which didn’t live up to its promise, either because the external conflict was so contrived and the book was about 50 pages too long), and book #3 was actually good. I could see the author’s growth throughout the series. However, the anachronistic speech did sometimes pull me out of the story, e.g., “she wasn’t going to go there,” in the meaning of, “I’m not going to bring up that subject or think about that thing.” In Georgian England? I think not.

Yet… The book I put down for good is a much better-written book with regard to prose and word choice than the whole series of 3 books I had issues with. I finished all 3 of those books–not in record time, no, but I zipped right along and had a fairly decent time with them.

Conclusion: The technically better book failed to get the job done, whereas the annoyingly flawed books did.

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