Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dastardly Deceptions - D. Darlene Sonntag

Summary:  Kara Carmery grew up wondering if she was indeed responsible for her father's death.  Born as a servant on the estate of the wealthy Lord Bolwyn in eighteenth century England, her life is turned upside down when he takes her into his home after the death of both her parents, and raises her as one of the family.  Her rare beauty immediately sets her at odds with the lord's spoiled daughter, Miranda.  When Miranda mysteriously dies at age eighteen, suspicion is cast on Kara, thrusting her into peril and intrigue.  She is forced to dig into the past and unravel a set of lies and deceptions that threaten to destroy her.  At her sister's funeral Kara makes the acquaintance of the handsome Captain Gloutingham.  Will Kara survive the truth, or will it destroy any chance of happiness she might find with the captain?  (Summary from book - Image from www.goodreads.com - Book provided free for an honest review)

My Review:  If you've ever read a romance novel, you know how romance novels are written. As a general rule, they are unrealistic, sappy, and predictable, with embarrassing titles and happy endings.  Sometimes all that makes me roll my eyes, and, you know what, sometimes I just eat it all up.  I think it depends on my mood, or whether or not I’m pregnant.  Anyway, this novel landed a bit on both sides of the fence.  It was cute. It was fun. It ended blisffully.  It was also unrealistic, sappy, and veeery predictable.

The characters, setting, and plot of Dastardly Deceptions were all very run-of-the-mill romance novel, but the one thing it lacked in comparison to most romance novels was the overwhelmingly unrealistic sex (or sex of any kind, for that matter).  All the romance in this novel was limited to kissing and shirtlessness…of the male variety.  Personally I'm a fan of the cleaner romance novels.  I was also impressed by language that was far more sophisticated than what I have encountered in other romance novels. I must congratulate Ms. Sonntag on either her sesquipedalian loquaciousness or the comprehensive nature of her thesaurus (See what I did there?).

As a person who reads more mainstream fiction than clean romance novels, I had a hard time with parts of this book, especially the last 100+ pages. Once Kara went missing, everyone stood around and argued about things instead of getting a move on. Then, the antagonist was revealed (even though a pigeon would have known who it was) and turned out to be a complete nut job. It just didn’t come together for me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that while this book wouldn’t fare so well when compared with some of my favorite mainstream fiction, it definitely fits into a more specific niche market. Readers who actively seek out and devour clean romance novels will probably enjoy this book more than mainstream devotees (as is indicated by its eleven 5-star ratings on B&N). I can think of several people right now who would flip for it. I’m just not one of them.

My Rating:  2.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Have at it.  There is some shirtless and an exorbitant amount of admiration of the male physique, but I think you can handle it.

Sum it up:  Ultimately, this book wasn't my cup of tea but I know several people who would enjoy it.

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