Friday, June 2, 2017

REVIEW | Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
Publication Year: 2005
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Carsington Brothers #2
Awards: A Bunch!
Format: Audio (from Library)
Narrator: Kate Reading

WHY?:  Historical romance is my jam and I was most impressed by Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels.  This book features a bluestocking heroine and takes place in Egypt - how could I resist?

PLOT: Cairo 1812. The recently widowed Daphne Pembroke has a secret.  Though she appears to be traveling with her scholarly brother while he works on translating some ancient Egyptian writings, it is in fact she who is the scholar while her brother serves as her cover.  Because women weren't supposed to be smart in those days.  When her brother disappears, the English consulate provides Daphne with the ne'er-do-well, Rupert Carsington as protector and to help find her missing brother.  Not content to sit and wait at home while others search, she drags Rupert across Egypt in pursuit of her brother and the meaning of a mysterious manuscript.  

It has been a good long while since I read this book (weeks and weeks) so this review is not likely going to be super detailed.  However, I thought it was worth recording some brief thoughts because the one thing I can say about it is that I liked it a good bit less than I thought I would and should.

Daphne is an atypical female for the time.  Scholarly, strong-willed, rather adventurous and brave, impervious to physical discomfort.  She married her first husband, who was a scholar and a great deal older than her, because she respected him and thought that because of his scholarly leanings he would allow her to help with his work.  It is a very similar situation to that found in Middlemarch (by George Eliot) between Dorothea and Casaubon...and it has similar results.  Like that disastrous pairing, the marriage is not a happy one because her husband is quite close-minded on the abilities of a mere woman and feels threatened by his intelligent and thoughtful wife.  

Widowhood therefore suits Daphne and she has an understanding brother that is willing to shield her and be the masculine face for her work.  Her marriage left her with some scars however.  She is not anxious to pair off with another man anytime soon and she is self-conscious about how physically desirable she is because her husband found the bedroom off putting.  

When she meets Rupert Carsington, she is prickly, judgmental, condescending and bossy.  He of course falls immediately in lust with her.  Sigh....  I think this fact is at the heart of why I liked the book but it didn't entirely work for me.  Rupert is not scholarly but he's quite intelligent. It takes Daphne FOREVER to figure this out. Sure, Rupert prefers carousing and fisticuffs to scholarly pursuits and physically he's quite large and imposing, so Daphne treats him like a big dumb ox.  For most of the book.  And he loves it.  Daphne isn't necessarily unlikable for this  - she comes on strong because her experience with men has taught that is how she will get her way  - but it doesn't make her incredibly likable either.  On Rupert's side, he's the typical - "I am man, I have no tender emotions" - so it takes him forever to recognize that he is, in fact, in love with Daphne and not just wanting to get her into bed. 

Overall, I found the pairing sort of annoying and so despite the exciting setting, I was  a little bored.  The story also had great potential, with hints of mystery and historical archeology, but it also was not quite as exciting as I hoped.  

Despite all the grumbling, I do think part of my lack of real enjoyment was high expectations and the mood I was in at the time.  It has a lot of really great elements and I do think less persnickety readers will really enjoy Daphne and Rupert.  They are relatively unique characters which Chase takes pains to develop and she does do a good job of building the reasons why they work as a couple.  Really, I don't entirely know why this book didn't wow me and I think I am in the minority here.  Check out the SBTB review in the "Other Opinions are Available" section for some much more positive feels about this one.  

AUDIO NOTES:  The narrator, Kate Reading is a popular reader of historical romances and she does a fine job.  She is not however, my favorite, and that may also have played a role in my lackluster response to this one.

FINAL VERDICT:  Really a top notch historical romance though I was disappointed because of unreasonably high expectations, an off mood, and a cold dead heart.  I do however, recommend it and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 Other Opinions are Available: Smart BItches,Trashy Books | The Book Smugglers

No comments:

Post a Comment