Friday, November 9, 2012

The Marriage List by Dorothy McFalls

My status of single motherhood does not always allow me to purchase the latest titles by my favorite authors. I sometimes have to wait and not very patiently in some cases, for the paperback editions or for them to go on sale at a Kindle event. Fortunately, I am in love with many genres and am always willing to try an author's first published novel because they are often, for a short time, free at Amazon. They could have been written & published years ago or newly published. I've also found in many cases that Kindle books tend to be cheaper than print books or other eBooks unless you go to a used bookstore, garage sale or obviously the library.

Yesterday I read one such free kindle eBook, which I believe was the authors 1st published novel:

The Marriage List by Dorothy McFalls
Genre - Historical Romance (Regency)
228 Pages
3.7 stars (Amazon rating)
Current Kindle Price $.99
Setting - Bath, England
Amazon didn't show a normal book description but there were a few Publisher and reader reviews that summed up what the story was about.
Goodreads described the book as: "Compelled by his family to marry, Viscount Radford Evers makes a list of his requirements for a wife. Humble tenant May Sheffers meets none of these, so why does his heart beat madly at the sight of her?"
Goodreads - The Marriage List
There wasn't much history or romance in the book that I was aware of. There were a few scenes set in the Bath pump houses but not enough descriptive work for me to feel like I visited one and I recall 2 or maybe 3 kisses between the two main characters.
The book also had a few typical references that one reads in many light hearted or cozy regency romance novels that makes you cringe because you've read it over and over again. I often wonder if authors don't realize that if they have read that line before then their readers have as well. Once a historical romance reader always a historical romance reader, one doesn't just give up the HR genre - create some new material! For instance the reference that finding a wife is like buying a horse at Tattersall's or marrying is like breeding your horses, check for good breeding, strong teeth & a little spirit. The 1st two times I read it I laughed - both were phrased differently, both were funny. I'm no longer amused! I know I sound harsh, but it was in the first chapter of this book! Seriously, I almost put it down. Ha-ha!
The overall story wasn't really that bad and probably deserves the 3.7 star Amazon rating and 3.26 star Goodreads rating. I did give it a 3 star rating because it wasn't badly written, though not very original, the author does have a certain skill with likable characters and even enjoyable villains. It wasn't my type of romance, difficult love relationships, feelings of inadequacy due to station or ones birth and making stupid decisions based on pride or misunderstandings can frustrate me. The ending was rather abrupt though happy. What romance doesn't have a happy ending though? The main characters May and Radford were mostly likable except that it took them until around the last 5 pages to figure things out! LOL!
I do enjoy a bit more romance and wooing in my novels and a little less "woe is me" in my characters. I enjoy a mystery thrown in the mix, which in a way the evil uncle and his partner in crime added a little mystery to this novel but not enough in my opinion (and their schemes were very predictable). Without the added benefit of a good mystery the storyline needed to be a lot stronger than this one and much more interesting to keep me begging for more.
This author has written 8 other novels and even a book that seems to follow after May & Radford's story -

Lady Iona's Rebellion (sexy historical romance), published in March 2010, 263 pages, $.99 @ Amazon for Kindle and featuring the other 2 likable characters from The Marriage List - Lady Iona and Lord Nathan Wynter, best friends to May and Radford. I am surprised that in parentheses the title continues with sexy historical romance. I admit I'm tempted to read this work, mostly to see if the author developed in style after her first publication and because I did like these 4 characters. Goodreads has an extensive book description here - Lady Iona's Rebellion Book Description (goodreads) I have a number of books in my TBR pile before this one so I have added it to my Amazon Wish List just in case I decide to take the chance in the future and read it.
"Mischief Managed" ~ Kelly

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