Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reading in Retrospect: "Some Enchanted Evening" by Christina Dodd

I was duped into reading a romance novel. It was an “impulse borrow” from the library a few years back. I found it right up there on the display shelf by the front desk, and I grabbed it in a moment of reckless spontaneity just before the librarian finished checking out my kids' stack of picture books. I must admit that, in this case, my literary amnesia has served me well and I have absolutely no recollection of this book beyond what I wrote about it at the time. I think maybe my subconscious has done me the favor of blocking an unsavory memory.

The front cover showed a castle against a sky pink and purple with the setting sun. (Obviously the cover pictured here is not the one I'm talking about, but it's the closest one I could find). I was thinking the story might be a fairy tale, or perhaps historical fiction. Yeah, maybe the title should have warned me, but the front cover did not show a shirtless, long-haired man ripping the bodice from a beautiful beskirted heroine like this. Nor did it depict a wistful, winsome lass gazing with yearning from her achingly romantic perch on her castle's balcony, as does the front of the current edition. If it had, I would have known better.

The author was described as a “New York Times Bestselling Author.” The book was in hardcover, for Pete’s sake! And it looked brand new. I would never have guessed that our local library was spending its meager supply of book money on brand new trash.

That said, I did read the entire book. But only because I had nothing better to read at the time, and because I'm one of those people--I have to finish every book I start, no matter how painful the process. The plot was somewhat interesting, and the love scenes were not completely embarrassing, although I could have done without them.

If you must know a bit about the plot, here's what I wrote about it back when I read it: Three princess sisters are exiled from their tiny country during the turmoil of war. The eldest sister has disappeared, but the younger two, Clarice and Amy, are traveling incognito from town to town in the English countryside, selling their “royal secret” face creams in order to make enough money to stay alive while trying to remain hidden from those who hunt them and want them assassinated. They make their way into Scotland where they become embroiled in a scheme with Robert MacKenzie, Earl of Hepburn. Of course Clarice and Robert fall in love against their will, have really hot sex, and in the end are married and become “with child”, although this is against the wishes of the martinet Dowager Queen Grandmama back in Beaumontagne. Eeesh.

Bottom Line: Not Enchanting. I won’t make the mistake of wasting my time on this one again. And next time maybe I won’t judge a book by its cover. (Ha! Good luck with that one.) But at least the newer editions are no longer printed with a trickster cover.


Kate said...

I hate trick covers! I know exactly what you're talking about!

Brenna said...

How terrible! I would not be please with my library...

Amanda said...

Great review!! I will never read the book, but I feel your pain!

Jules@OneBookShy said...

It's funny that my friend & I were talking about this while shopping this week. We have a game we've done since childhood (a LONG time ago) where we pick up a book and tell the other a story based entirely on the cover. It gets hysterical! (and annoying as it was for you above when the story has NOTHING to do with the cover.)

Thanks for the great post.

Kathy said...

I bet I have passed over some really good books because I couln't get past their covers. But every now and then (as here!) I get caught reading something I wouldn't have if the cover had matched up better!

Jules, that sounds like a game I would have loved to play if I'd ever thought of it. It reminds me of part of my post on Three Weeks, in which I apparently noticed far more detail in the cover photo than I was meant to!