Friday, August 19, 2011

The Matchless Miss

The Matchless Miss by Sorcha MacMurrough

Regency Romance. Also self-published, available only as a download through Amazon or HerStory Books. Another big disappointment. Sarah Deveril is the spinster sister of the local curate, taking care of his house while he's on his honeymoon. One dark and stormy night, a blind man, a wounded veteran of the Peninsular War, shows up on the doorstep, suffering from amnesia, but claiming to know Sarah's brother. Sarah takes him in, and of course they fall in love.

The author has done some research on the Regency period, but the quality of the writing overall is not very good. The dialog is painfully stilted and flat, alternating between archaic and modern speech. The word "helpmeet" comes up like 50 times, but most of the dialog uses the speech patterns of modern Americans. The historical details, like background on the city of Bath or on parts of the Napoleonic Wars read like they were lifted directly from Wikipedia. All the characters are impossibly handsome/beautiful, even the secondary characters. No one is average, everyone is perfect.

This read less like a wounded hero romance novel and more like hurt/comfort fanfic. There is a ton of sex, but for most of the novel, nothing happens. Then suddenly there's a lot of awkwardly written action right at the end. The characters are not believable: Sarah, the spinster sister of the vicar, has sex right away, and her lack of shame or reserve is thoroughly modern, not at all true to the time. Then suddenly at the end she transforms into a breeches-wearing, sword-wielding tomboy. Also, it's made clear from the beginning that Alexander's blindness is psychosomatic, not physical, so of course he gets his sight back in the end--UGH!! The way his blindness is treated is totally unrealistic--he even fools people in the town into thinking he can see. Huh? Both characters left me totally cold.

As with (some) fanfic, none of the details of the time, or of plot or character really matter, it's all just a framework to hang a whole lot of sex scenes on. By the way, the people who run HerStory books left some whiny comments on my bad review over at Amazon. But all the good reviews of the book were written by them, and it's the same for their other titles. They write a bunch of great reviews themselves and try to undermine the bad reviews in the comments. So unprofessional!

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