Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Good Groom Hunting by Shana Galen

Skeptic scale: ♥♥♥
Hmmmm. I wanted to like this more than I did. I loved that pirate one SG wrote and this one had some of the same positives - interesting H & h back stories, adventure story involving pirates and lost treasure - I noticed that it was even edited by one of my FAVORITE editors May Chen (who did some of Julie Anne Long's stuff). But I don't know... it just felt flat. 

She: 18 year old gently bred lady of the bon ton. She may be youthful but she is full of beans. She has half of a treasure map that her piratical grandfather left her and she's determined to find the other half so that she can find her fortune and be a truly independent women entirely free from society's restrictions.

He: Newly returned from India, this Earl was the black sheep of the family who spent his salad days ruining ladies and wagering away the family fortune. His elder brother and the parental favorite passes away leaving him the heir to the Earldom. He must take the saddle to make amends for his dissolute youth. His grandfather, who was also a pirate and a partner to the heroine's buccaneering granddaddy (that's right - there were TWO pirates) left him the other half of a treasure map - he just has to find it where that half is. To restore the coffers, he needs a fortune. Luckily he knows someone with the other half of a pirate map that leads to a chest full of shiny Spanish doubloons...

Conflict: She wants to be wealthy and independent - not just a wife but a career adventuress. He wants to regain the respect of his family and fulfill the role of Earl with dignity. They both need the booty. Ahem. 

Can they work together and trust each other to share the treasure once they find it?

Not a terrible plot, right? You figure you're in for some gadding about with a cutlass and evading  capture by some stealthy villains out to steal your gold. Alas, no. There were maybe 2 chapters of fun and games and the rest of it sort of just dripped along predictably - whispered innuendo at balls and trying to evade irate overprotective mothers. Sigh.

Let's talk it out and maybe I can figure out what was keeping me from truly hearting this book:

1) The age gap between H & h - she's 18 and he's 32. I know this wouldn't have been atypical at the time, but it was disturbing to read. The h was supposed to be this adventurous, risk-taking type - she could have been 23 and been those things. The extreme youth didn't really help the story in any way that I could see so it was just weird and slightly gross.

2) The chemistry was choppy and uneven. There wasn't a proper build up, more just events (fumbles in the dark, really) along the way that contribute to both of them feeling the bubbles. It was really more about finding the treasure. Which is fine, but didn't really create a lot of oopmh in the tension between the H&h. 

3) It sort of dragged at the end. I know the author was trying to tie up all lose ends (treasure, family, H&h etc) but after they Fall In Love and find the treasure, I immediately lost interest and had to skip read the last couple chapters. 

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