Audio Review: Midsummer Magic by Catherine Coulter

midsummer magicHero: Philip Hawsbury is no longer the second son. When his older brother died, he became the next Earl of Rothermere. Now his father is on his deathbed and Philip must fulfill a longstanding promise his father made to impoverished Alexander Kilbracken, the Scottish Earl of Ruthven. He must marry one of the daughters – Viola, Clare, or Frances.  He has no desire to wed anyone and would prefer to stay in London with his mistress. Now how can he proceed to do both?

Heroine: Frances does not want to be married off to Philip or really anyone sight unseen. She’s certain he’s going to be an arrogant Sassenach. She’s the apple of her father’s eye and has a premonition that her father would like to see her marry the man. Since she must be present and participate, she decides to do so in the worst way possible. While her sisters, Clare and Viola, vie for the young earl’s attention, she’s going to make herself ugly, aloof, and a shrew. Little does she know that she presents the perfect image of a wife for Philip – who wants to fulfill his father’s promise, but leave the missus behind at Desborough Hall while he pursues his London life unchecked and unencumbered.

Review: This book comes from the era of the “bodice-ripper” / “forced seduction” and has the flaws that associate with that period of romances. The hero for instance is not a worthy hero by today’s standard’s. He’s shallow and doesn’t learn to love the heroine in her disguise, but rather falls for her [beauty] when it comes off. He’s also either a product of his times or an idiot because he doesn’t think wives should be treated like mistresses and in so believing makes zero attempts to please his bride when he and she do their “duties” to conceive.  But it’s supposed to be acceptable and tolerable because both characters don’t know any better. Baloney. He also likes to pretend he’s the wounded party in all of this, which is very aggravating.

When he’s not being an irritating jerk he at least remembers the cream (which is not saying much.)

It should be noted that the heroine’s characterization starts off great – she’s feisty, stands up to her father, and tries to trick the hero with a “clever” ugly duckling disguise. But then this tom-boyish, heart of gold (she walks miles to visit her father’s tenets,) strong heroine gets replaced by someone else entirely during their “honeymoon” stage. She’s uncertain, quiet, mousey, and timid – and not just for the appearance of keeping up her disguise.

So what did work for me was the beginning and the initial set-up.

Narrator: Anne Flosnik as usual had a wonderful performance. She is one of the reasons I stuck with the story to the end.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: Midsummer Magic (Magic Trilogy), Midsummer Magic (Audiobook)

Review: The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

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The Corinthian ranks in my top 5 favorite Georgette Heyers to date.

My favorite things about this novel:

  • The hero and heroine spend a majority of the book in each other’s presence.
  • The heroine cross-dresses to look like a young lad for most of the novel with the hero helping her in her disguise.
  • The heroine is not a fainting female and is intelligent, if a little young.
  • The childhood sweetheart of the heroine has his own love match and is no way put out by the romance between the hero and heroine.
  • The thief cant: snabble and snaffle are my two new favorite words.
  • The kiss scene. How’s that for a tease?

Corinthian: a man about town, esp. one who lives luxuriously or, sometimes, dissolutely.

—dictionary.com

Sir Richard Wyndham reminds me a bit of Lord Worth. [Hopefully I’m recalling the right hero.]  With Wyndham however it is easier to tell his amusement and enjoyment around Penelope Creed.

Penelope or Pen as she’s referred to when dressed like a boy, is escaping her aunt’s household. She won’t marry her cousin! She won’t! She will marry instead her childhood sweetheart, Piers Luttrell, with whom she’d made a secret engagement five years ago.

Richard is on the verge of making the worst mistake of his life. He’s planning to give his suit to Melissa Brandon, a cold practical woman, because his family is badgering him to marry. The idea drives him to drink. Imagine his surprise at seeing a young lad escape through a window via knotted bed sheets… and then to find out that the lad is in fact a young chit of a girl barely out of the school room.

I’ve noticed in the novels that I’ve read so far that Heyer likes to pair considerably older gentleman with young ladies still in their early teens, rarely in their twenties. It’s usually about a decade age difference. Why do you think she did this?

Rating: 4 Stars

Buy: The Corinthian

Find and buy more Georgette Heyer novels.

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