Saturday, February 20, 2010

True Librarian Confessions!

OK, I'll admit it. I dragged my feet on reading Goddess Of The Hunt by Tessa Dare. I kept putting it off. Why? Well, if you've been reading this blog for any stretch of time, or you used to read my reviews during my TRR days, you've probably noticed I'm a bit bitchy particular when it comes to romance heroines. Yeah, yeah - hunky, heartthrob heroes are all well and good, but I'm reading for the heroine. That's just how I roll. After reading some reviews and various scuttlebutt online about Dare's debut novel I feared that Lucy Waltham was going to drive me bat-shit crazy. However Judgment Day has arrived. Yep, Dare is doing my library's literary event, which means I can no longer put off to tomorrow what I should have done six months ago.

Lucy Waltham is an orphan who is under the guardianship of her older brother, Henry. Henry adores her, but admittedly has no clue on how to raise a proper young lady. So instead of playing piano, learning to paint, and any other myriad of useless Regency female endeavors, she's tagging along with Henry and his friends while they ride, shoot, and traipse through the woods. Having never had a season, where she could fall in and out of love with a bevy of potential suitors, Lucy latches on to Henry's friend Toby. She's hopelessly in love with him. The problem being that Toby, having left a string of broken hearts along the way, is going to propose any day now to Miss Sophia Hathaway. Well Lucy just cannot have that! She's going to have to practice her feminine wiles on some other poor helpless schmuck so she can learn to effectively seduce Toby.

Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, is more than a little surprised when Lucy launches herself into his arms and plants a very ardent, but frankly terrible, kiss on his lips. Not exactly what he expected when he opened his bedroom door in the dead of night. He's never thought of Lucy as more than his best friend's little sister, and now with that kiss, he's thinking about her in a whole different light. However, the chit fancies herself in love with Toby. He tries to reason with her, but Lucy is nothing if not headstrong and mule-headed. Oh well. He's just going to have to keep an eye on her, won't he?

Goddess Of The Hunt is the type of book that requires patience on the part of the reader. I wouldn't necessarily call Lucy too-stupid-to-live, but she's young and very immature. Reading about Lucy is like looking back on your own impetuous teenage self. You know, when you fancied yourself in lurve with that handsome boy in your algebra class, yet he didn't know you existed because he was mooning over the snotty, blonde, popular cheerleader who had bigger boobs than you did. Of course you eventually realize you're not in love with algebra boy at all, it's just puppy love, an infatuation. And that's what Lucy must learn about Toby. In the meantime, the reader has to wait for her to learn it, and it takes the first half the book.

It's also during the first half that Lucy, and the reader, is falling under the spell of the aloof, borderline chilly, Jeremy. A man who has kept his distance in all personal affairs, and who Lucy has always seen as a cold fish, practically incapable of love. Not true of course. Like all good, solid, romance heroes, the poor guy has a fair amount of personal baggage he's failed to address. Lucy, with all her impetuous, improper, and unladylike behavior, sinks this guy so fast that he has no idea what has hit him.

This is honestly a second half book for me. Lucy, while not stupid, is definitely young - and the older I get, the harder it is to read about "young" heroines. It's too easy for me to want to smack them, even if I can totally "get" where they are coming from. Where this book really begins to cook for me is when Jeremy has to make a decision about Lucy. Should he just leave her to fend for herself, or damn it all the Hell, should he do what he desperately wants to do, and never let her out of his sight again?

There was a lot I liked here. I liked that Jeremy didn't sugarcoat the truth to Lucy in regards to Toby's plans and affections. I liked that in the latter half of the story, the shoe is on the other foot and Lucy is calling Jeremy out. I liked the fact that here were two characters who had no intention or desire to fall for each other - but they do anyway. In part because of circumstances that throw them together, and part because they're perfect for each other. If anything, the only fault I find with this story was I wanted a lot more of what I got in the second half and less time devoted to Lucy's girlish infatuation with some other guy. But, quibbles. This was an excellent debut novel, that was an enjoyable read once I got past my own peculiar eccentric reader baggage. I'm glad I thought ahead, because as I type this, a library copy of Surrender Of A Siren is in route to my humble office cubicle.

Final Grade = B


Kristie (J) said...

The older I get, the harder it is for me to read about younger innocent heroines too - I keep thinking nowadays "they are even to young for my sons!!". Having said that though, I really did quite like this book and really liked both Lucy and 'specially Jeremy. I've always had a fondness for a cold on the outside - not so on the inside kind of hero.

SonomaLass said...

This is exactly why I loved Lucy and GOtH - she acted her age, and I'm tired of 17- and 18-year-old girls who are wise beyond their years, yadda yadda.

I really didn't like Sophia by the end of the book, and I did like Toby, so I expected to have issues with the next one. At it happened, Surrender was my favorite of the three. I'm eager to hear what you think of it.

Rosario said...

It's funny, I really liked the book as well, but for me it was all about the first half. The second half, I felt it was all about miscommunication and Jeremy making assumptions about what Lucy was feeling and jumping to conclusions and blowing hot and cold. It still was good, but it didn't make me all tingly, like the first half did.

Rosie said...

You finally read it! I'm with you on the first half second half thing. Although I liked the set up of the relationships with the story of her following them hunting.

Wendy said...

Kristie: With me it's a patience factor. I have less patience the older I get. And young heroines require a lot of patience :)

Sonoma: That was exactly it for me too. Lucy was "young" - but I wouldn't classify her anywhere near Too Stupid To Live territory. She was just...well...young. And *sigh* haven't most of us been there a time or two....or three....

Rosario: You have a point, and normally I would agree with you. Because that miscommunication stuff tends to drive me bonkers as well. For me, I think it was a relief to get past the distraction of Toby and Lucy's puppy love.

Rosie: I thought the author did a good job setting up the series without doing too much series-baiting. Sophia and Toby play active roles in THIS story. They're not just standing around, taking up space. They're integral.

Jill Sorenson said...

Interesting! I think I liked both halves equally. For me, Lucy was fresh and fun and vibrant. Maybe I like them young? ;)

JessW said...

I had the same opinion as Wendy regarding the second half being the stronger part of the book. Lucy was young and somewhat impetuous, but i grew to really like her by the end. Jeremy became a more human, not just the standard handsome titled hero, as his family background was revealed. I am reading the books in order and am glad to hear that Sophia deserves to be the heroine of her own book.

Lynn Spencer said...

When I first started the book, I was rolling my eyes over the heroine a bit, too. Then I happened to overhear a group of girls from church youth group mooning over some guy they knew - and they sounded just like Lucy! In the end, I found the book exasperating at times but really a good read overall.

I also like that Dare can write more than one kind of heroine. Not to spoil anything, but the heroines of the other two books are definitely NOT retreads of Lucy.

Holly said...

I've been putting off reading this for the same reason as you. I don't think I'm quite ready to start it, but this review has pushed me in that direction.

I've been having a lot of trouble with the "young" heroines of late, too. But I'm on both sides of the fence.

Like you and Kristie, the "too" young ones drive me crazy. But like SonomaLass, the "wise beyond their years" ones are starting to annoy me, too.

I just can't be pleased, apparently.

Lynette said...

Okay. I have all three books in this series. I haven't read them yet. I really need to get busy. Sigh.

Wendy said...

Jill: Lucy was definitely a sunny character. I tend to naturally gravitate towards heroines with "baggage" - so Lucy was a nice change of pace.

Jess: I'm still waiting for Sophia's book to land on my desk here at work. Hopefully tomorrow.

Lynn: I thought the author did a good job of depicting Lucy as "young." She acted (imho) like someone with a serious case of puppy love. It was all too easy to look back on some of my first crushes and cringe :)

Holly: I can still roll with "wise beyond their years," as long as they have the baggage to back it up. If the heroine has led nothing but a pampered and sheltered life? Yeah, not buying it. Sell it somewhere else - LOL.

Lynette: I picked up this book at RWA....back in July! And there it sat on my home office desk for the last 6 months. I swear my TBR is a black hole.

nath said...

Ohh, I totally agree with you, Wendy. You got it right, I thought Lucy was immature and seriously, she really annoyed me :(

Rebecca @ DSB said...

A 'B' is pretty nice when coming from you Wendy. I recognized the cover so I'm glad to get your input here. I didn't realize this was her debut novel either, and if I'm being honest, I'm always kinder when judging debuts. I suppose I'm impressed when new authors can string any coherent thoughts together.

Maybe I'll jump in if you like the next one even more. I keep waiting for you to hand out an A grade.

Taja said...

I also was a bit wary of this novel because of the heroine because some said she was TSTL. I think it was Kristie (J)'s review that convinced me to give this book a chance. Good thing! I really liked GOTH. Like Rosario, I was a bit fed up with all the miscommunication in the later parts of the novel but still a very good read. Actually, I should get the next two novels in the series today!

Wendy said...

Nath: Yep, immature. But I thought the author did a good job of showing "growth" over the course of the story.

Rebecca: One "A" grade so far this year - and that was for Wild Oats by Pamela Morsi (older book I read for TBR Challenge - see post below this one). I also have had a couple of B+ reads so far this year. Scoundrel's Kiss by Carrie Lofty and Holding Out For A Hero by HelenKay Dimon.

Taja: *Sigh* - still waiting for them to deliver Surrender Of A Siren to me. Our warehouse workers must be backed-up or something.

Karenmc said...

I read the excerpt on Tessa Dare's site several months ago and was very annoyed by Lucy. Thanks for reading the book and getting me interested. I'll give it a try now.

Wendy said...

Karen: Yeah, you have to wait Lucy out. She does grow up (IMHO), but she has to get over her puppy love for Toby first :)

Renee said...

A "B"!

I really liked GotH, though Lucy's actions in the beginning did cause some eye roll. I'm with KristieJ. I love me a "cold" hero who slowly thaws toward the heroine. Jeremy fit the bill.

I keep hearing book 2 is even better, but just as I was starting it, my historical slump hit. I'm hoping to get to it in the future. I'll look forward to hearing what you think of it!

Kaetrin said...

I read The Legend of the Werestag last night and I thought I had at least GotH on my reader but it seems I can practice restraint because it wasn't there.

I am determined to read some of my TBR list before I go haring off and buying more - I've just finished Bound by your Touch and Written on your Skin by Meredith Duran and I started Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas - all highly recommended books that I've had sitting on my reader for months and months but not read.

I enjoyed Legend of the Werestag and I will be picking up GotH - your review has given further encouragement - but I might wait until I whittle my TBR's down just a little!