** spoiler alert ** Wait, what? Did I just give a Lisa Kleypas book two stars?
Yup, yup I did.
I think this is going to be list stylee, from petty to severe.
1.) The heroine's name is Amanda Briars. I just hated this name (no offense to Amanda's everywhere!). It doesn't really roll off the tongue very well from front to back. The first and last names were both fails to me. Plus, plus, I kept thinking of that Friends episode -- "Oh! I get it, Ah-man--duh". So it just didn't work for me. Consequently, I was annoyed that I had to read her name over and over again. "Amanda", "Amanda Briars", "Miss Briars". None of them are good.
2.) Amanda, oh forget it. I can't even type the name so from now on she'll just be "A". "A" was not witty, funny, or sweet. I love a bluestocking! Give me a smart heroine everyday!! The problem with this heroine is that we're just told she is intelligent, she never really shows any depth of knowledge or wit. Her sense of humor ventures into sarcastic, but even then (and sarcasm can be funny) it was just obvious. So she writes books? So what? Show me some good banter, outsmart the hero, be clever -- in other words, do something!
3.) Our hero John "Jack" Devlin lacks real conviction. He asks money of his father that he despises to make something of himself, even though he pays the loan back, I still see this as a negative. He builds an empire for no other purpose than to make more money, but it doesn't occur to me that he has any other passion in life other than to make money. He never out right asks "A" to be his mistress, despite stomping his foot and demanding that he 'get his way'. He uses her pregnancy as a convenient excuse to really get what he wants rather than just being honest. And the list goes on.
4.)Jack is 25. I am with "A" on this one. That was a horrible, unsexy, unattractive, selfish and stupid reveal. It does however explain some of his faults as listed in #3. He lacks real world experience which would make him worthy in my opinion. Continuing the lie about his age only reinforces the fact that it is a big deal by the way.
5.) "A" should have chosen Charlie. Charles Hartley showed strength of character and love when Jack did not, accepting "A" in any way he could have her. I get that she didn't luurve him, but I did and that is what I wanted, Charles to be happy. Even if his happiness is with boring "A".
6.) "A"'s situation was one that was very deeply emotional and difficult. I think her acceptance that Jack would continue to stay with her after her loss of the baby is just too easy. The situation was two-fold; One, accepting that Jack wants her even after he says on many occasions that he doesn't want a family or marriage (and then not even using words to convince her, remember there was no talk of 'love' until after all the horribleness), and two, accepting the loss of a baby and dealing with the doubt that Jack would remain. With both of those issues present I thought the subject matter was just a bit too weighty for a romance novel in which everything is tied up in a pretty bow.
Needless to say that I was disappointed. I did finish it, and I was pleased that there was an HEA, so it has that going for it. I perhaps took some of the issues a little seriously for a romance novel, but at the end of the day Lisa is capabale of more. I wondered if this book was just rushed honestly because I didn't even get into how I felt like the story was slow and underworked.