May 23rd, 2007

third and fourth Loretta Chase novels

Unfortunately, it seems I really did read two of the best first. *sigh*

_Miss Perfect_ follows the adventures of Alastair, older brother of Rupert from _Mister Impossible_. _Lord Perfect_ follows the adventures of Benedict, their eldest brother.

The title character of the first one is the never-married only daughter of, IIRC, an Earl. Alastair, with a limp from Waterloo, war hero, dandy and general younger son who has amours fuck-up, is on a deadline to make something of himself. This is very artificial, which is a problem in and of itself. But the handling of the war-trauma/dandyism/etc. isn't bad, which almost makes up for it. Alastair is repping for his buddy who wants to install a canal to ship his coal to customers. Miss Perfect is opposed. Her dad is obsessed with all things botanical and checked out when his wife (Perfect's mum) died, leaving Miss Perfect to run the estate (implausibility thereof handled pretty well). There's a kidnapping, which left me wondering about that trend in Chase novels. Eventually, the pro-canal/anti-canal factions resolve their differences with a railroad, which is probably a spoiler, but doesn't really matter. There's a funny bit where Mrs. Alastair asks her new husband if he actually read the marriage contract. He had, but had assumed there must have been a write-o (too many noughts). Ha ha ha. Yes, she's really that rich, making Hargate happy. Whatever.

The title character of the second one was married to someone who died without children after three years and he's been not really paying much attention to anyone before, during, or since. But Bathsheba, The Most Notorious Woman in London does get his attention. As do his ward and her daughter, who run away together (not an elopement, as they are 13 and 12 respectively). Benedict and Bathsheba follow. Antics ensue. There is much sex and a lot of worrying about how they are to avoid scandal. Ha! Anyway. I do not understand -- and please do not attempt to explain to me -- why Bathsheba is so notorious. Yes, her family is scandalous. Yes, her first husband was disinherited (a younger son, therefore that was possible) for marrying her. But they stayed married, had one child several years into the marriage and apparently did not cheat on each other. They did not pay their bills, but that, in and of itself, is hardly cause for scandal in a Regency historical romance. First husband died of complications from a fall from a horse, so nothing scandalous there. So. What's the big deal? I get that Benedict really needs to look good to have a successful political career, but the bar is fairly low in this time frame, particularly when the royal family can be relied upon to come up with something really shockingly distracting. I Just Do Not Get It, and that's sort of a huge problem, since that is The Big Obstacle.

I think it was more a matter of, she's assumed to be mercenary and grasping and tasteless (like the rest of her family), and as soon as anyone interacts with her (by trying to buy her off), they realize she isn't scandalous at all, and in fact quite presentable. Still. The Most was obnoxious.

_Not Quite a Lady_ remains, and unless it is substantially better, if I buy more Chase it will probably be used and in no hurry.