Not So Sweet Maria: A Good Regency Romance To Spend Some Time With
I was given an ARC by the author and I am glad that I read it. For me a good book is one that will not make you stop reading it; I had read books till 4 AM because they are that good. So in that light, this book is something that will pick your interest but not enough to skip your sleep.
As for the story, it is about Maria whom the polite ton thinks as perfect embodiment of lady like virtue but who on the inside hates all of them because they are constantly judging her for her American mother. Her relationship with her step-grandmother is frosty though she (the grandmother) tries to break the ice. She is saving money by designing bonnets which is her hobby and selling them through an assumed name. The hero is also a Mr. Goody two shoes who believes, (like most regency heroes) that love is not needed in a marriage because his parents had a very disastrous marriage. So both agree to an arranged marriage without even seeing each other. But they meet under assumed name and identity and fall in love. Their meeting in actual identity keeps getting interrupted one way or another but ultimately, everything ends happily ever after, with some hiccups on the way.
So my issues with the story; first thing, the villains are there just for plot’s sake they don’t feel organic to the story. The character of Hardwick I found to be totally unnecessary. The second thing is that, characters start talking about their past and the narration is in first person and suddenly, it goes to third person. It is as if you are watching a show where a dialogue leads to a flashback scene. Lastly, I found it to be little hard to believe that Lady Maria who is so intelligent, cunning and observant, cannot see that the man she knows as Gareth and the duke she is getting married to (whose first name she knows is Gareth) is same person! Oh and the reason for the problems of the hero’s parent also felt very forced and anti-climatic.
In conclusion, I will be overlooking these things (and go for suspension of disbelief) and reading the next book by the author because she had interesting scenes and the characters were relatable. So best of luck to your next book.