Monday, 12 August 2013

Book Review: Her Ladyship's Curse by Lynn Viehl

Pros: interesting protagonist, solid world-building, fun premise

Cons: romance felt rushed

This is part one of Disenchanted & Co, which I took to be a duology since part one is out in August in ebook edition only, and part 2 (His Lordship Possessed) is out in October.  The reality is that Her Ladyship's Curse is the first half of the novel, which abruptly ends to be continued in the next volume.  Which explains why the books are slated for a paperback release as a single volume in January 2014.

It makes reviewing the book somewhat challenging as there's been no completion of any of the plot points.  This first half is, as to be expected, set-up for the rest of the novel.  We're introduced to the primary characters, the plot, with several interesting twists, and the world.  But it's hard to judge a work as a whole when you've only read half of it.

The world-building is solid, being an alternate reality USA where England won the Revolutionary War.  It's obvious that a lot of thought went into deciding how that loss would affect the people, with regards to fashion, attitudes and class structure.  The natives are still treated badly, which is painful to read but realistic given how actual history treated them.

I really enjoyed seeing Miss Kittredge using her brain to debunk the superstitions of others.  She's a great, spunky protagonist that will remind readers of Alexia Tarabotti from Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series.

I'm not the biggest fan of heavy handed romances and the one here, though not given much page time, somewhat creeped me out.  The woman's adamant about hating the guy and he keeps trying to push himself on her.  Their inevitable liaison seemed forced, as there was no attempt by the hero to prove he wasn't the monster the heroine believed him to be.  Had this first half simply set the scene and shown her learning more about him (or even better, the two learning more about each other, as he doesn't seem to respect her position as a working woman), perhaps a liaison in the second half of the novel would have felt more organic.

This is a promising beginning with lots of potential.  It will be interesting to see how selling the novel as two ebook halves works out.

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