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The Eleventh Hour

Reading for fun, knowledge and power.

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A Hundred Summers
Beatriz Williams
Progress: 10/277 pages
The Weaker Vessel
Antonia Fraser
His Christmas Pleasure - Cathy Maxwell So, the story is: Abby is a 25 year old, almost spinster whose father is trying to get her to marry a morbidly obese widower with 13 children in an arranged marriage that would benefit everyone but Abby herself. Obviously, as you do, she elopes with a sexy, Spanish guy named Andres at the first opportunity, to thwart her father. This handsome Lothario, however, is flat broke and marrying Abby primarily for her money to fix up a house given to him by his ex-paramour's husband. It's...weirdly complicated. The short of it is, Abby's parents won't let her live her life and Andres can give Abby the life she wants...if she gives him her dowry. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement for both of them.

I felt really distanced from this story. There's a lot of telling and not a lot of showing in the narrative. "She is this" and "he did that", and -- after a while -- it got tedious because it felt like I was reading a summary of events rather than an actual, engrossing story. Abby and Andres didn't feel like real people to me either, just a couple of dull, poorly fleshed out characters placed in a wallpaper historical. Yes, Andres is Spanish, but he is such a cardboard cutout character, along with Abby, that I never felt like either of them were anything different from every other hero and heroine out there. I'm pretty sure by tomorrow I won't even remember their names.

Still, this was an okay book. Right up until the climatic ending, which ENRAGED me. The heroine gives the hero your standard "prove your love to me" test, which is fine, but... The actual test itself threatened everything that the hero held dear; he could have lost it all for the super selfish heroine! I'm sorry, but JERK MOVE, Abby. We don't test the people we love by forcing them to choose between you and something they've been working super hard towards, something else that they love. I was half-hoping that Andres would roll his eyes and leave her to teenage emo angst, but ALAS. This last half ruined the book for me. 2 stars = D-ish grade.