Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage
Jilly Jones is the proprietess of Hodgepodge, a quaint little bookshop on London's most cursed street, Dreare Street in Mayfair. Her neighbor, Captain Stephen Archer, is home from sailing the high seas and capturing pirates and is making the most of the house on Dreare Street that he inherited. He and his fellow shipmates have been engaged in a raucaus party for the past week and Jilly has finally had enough and decides to confront Stephen. Before she knows it she is joining in the fun and both she and Stephen are thinking that there might be something more between them. But Jilly has a secret; she is a runaway wife from an abusive husband she married in order not to be thrown out on the street. Stephen only knows that he likes making his oh-so-proper neighbor loosen up and plans to dedicate himself to doing so. But then some distant relatives show up to use his new house for the season and to stave off their matchmaking efforts with their daughter he informs them that he and Jilly have an understanding.
Jilly agrees to go along with Stephen's ridiculous idea only if he agrees to help her with her newest idea to help bring cheer to Dreare street and raise funds for everyone to pay off their lease. Pretty soon Jilly and Stephen, and the rest of Dreare Street, is completely caught up in the momentum and determined to make this the best fair ever, including getting the Prince Regent to attend. Throughout it all Stephen and Jilly grow closer, talk about themselves, and while Stephen wonders if Jilly could be someone special and she wishes she could go back and change things. But bringing herself to the attention of the Prince Regent means it is easy for her husband to find her and when he shows up on Dreare Street he throws everything into disarray. Stephen is heartbroken and feels betrayed and the street fair is doomed and Jilly worries that she will have to spend the rest of her life with her abusive husband. But both of them realize that what they have is worth fighting for and together they can save Dreare Street and find a way for the two of them to wind up happily ever after.
Kramer continues with her Impossible Bachelors, this time with Stephen Archer, the ship captain whom I admittedly don't really remember much about from the other books. I was incredibly surprised to find so many negative reviews for this book on amazon and there were a lot of complaints about the writing, the characters, and the romance itself. I found this book to be incredibly light and very fast to read and felt from the reviews that people were expecting quite a lot from this book. I really liked both of the characters and did not mind that they did fall into a couple of romance novel cliches, such as when Jilly insisted she would not succumb to Stephen and yet she did so quickly. Jilly was a little too passionate to seem completely realistic, but I felt like it fit well with a woman who had escaped a bad marriage in order to start a new life. She was full of life, she was smart, and she was dedicated to a cause which she became invested in. Her decision to open up a bookstore on a cursed street was rather unintelligent, but that was my biggest problem with her, really.
Stephen was also interesting enough in his own right, but I felt like he was a little too carefree and I am getting tired of heroes who spend the first half just kind of breezing through everything and not really seeming to care how there actions are be interpreted by the heroine. But by throwing himself in with Jilly to plan the street fair, he proved that he was willing to be something more for the love of a good woman and I liked that about him. Their relationship was well developed and they spent a lot of time together and I really enjoyed reading about them falling in love. There was almost no sex between them, or steamy scenes either, and it was all at the end, but I had been expecting this after her last books. The street fair was rather ridiculous I'll admit, but I felt like it was a fair way to get Stephen and Jilly on the same page and working together so while I didn't really like it, I went along with it. Jilly's marriage was a nice little addition to add some emotional turmoil to the book and it was handled fairly and as realistically as possible.
Rating: A good book with some fun characters, but it really didn't have any spice or anything super exceptional- just a fast read.