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Monday, December 18, 2006

Loving Julia by Karen Robards

I know this is a really old book, but this is the first time I've read it. KR was the first author that hooked me to the romance genre, and I've read most of her historicals. So it's about time I read Loving Julia, since it's one of her more popular works. The blurb is as follows:

London street urchin Jewel Combs had no future but one of whoredom and shame. Then a dying gentleman looked at her topaz eyes and still untouched innocence --and wed her to torment his aristocratic family with a final, scandalous joke after his death.

But Sebastian, Earl of Moorland, found nothing humorous in the cheeky young widow's claims on his cousin's inheritance...or in the smoldering sensuality of this rough Jewel. Appraising her with his ice blue eyes, he wondered if it might be amusing to polish her into a lady, call her Julia Stratham...and seduce her. Jewel had kept her virginity amid England's roughest men, yet when this devastatingly handsome lord lowered his mouth to her burning flesh, an irresistible fire consumed her...and even if he called her wanton, she vowed to be the lady he loved tonight...and forever.

This book was very promising but fell short of my expectations. The story is your classic "My Fair Lady" setup, the rags-to-riches heroine falls in love with her tutor. Going into it I knew the story wouldn't be special, but I was still expecting an awesome love story. Here are the main issues I had with Loving Julia:

1) Age difference - Jewel was around 16 years old while Sebastian was 31. I know for a historical heroines are generally younger, and I don't mean to offend anyone, but I just think this age gap is too big when the girl is that young. 15 years would've been okay with me had she been at least 18, but 16 just seems way too young. She's barely a woman!

2) Cockney accent - For the first few chapters, Jewel speaks with a broken accent that makes the flow of reading difficult. To illustrate: " 'old your 'orses a minute, 'ere. Suppose I don' wan' ter be turned into a bleedin' lady? I don' 'ave to do wot ya tell me, ya know. I can jes' take wot's comin' ter me and leave." Yah, it's one thing to hear Audrey Hepburn speak like that, but reading it is just a pain.

3) Sebastian's daughter Chloe - Sebastian has a 6 year old daughter whose mother was killed when she was about 2. Rumor has it that Sebastian pushed her off a ledge, so Chloe is afraid of her father and refuses to speak to anyone. This relationship disappointed me, because KR is usually great with family relationships. I was also expecting Julia to get closer to Chloe and in the end both she and Chloe would win Sebastian's affections; but Julia never had any interaction with her until the end when Chloe saved Julia's life! I couldn't believe how poorly the Chloe dilemma was resolved, one minute she's not talking to anyone, the next minute she's saving Julia's life and Sebastian is hugging her and saying he loves her.

4) Sebastian's mother - Again, the relationship idea. Sebastian did not get along with his mother, who in turn despised both Sebastian and Julia. At the very end Sebastian made amends with his mother, but nothing was resolved between her and Julia.

5) Sebastian's cold attitude - It was hard to understand how Sebastian felt about Julia, when he went from proposing she be his mistress to all of a sudden "falling in love" with her. He only wanted to teach her manners for his amusement and once she transformed into a lady, his amusement turned to lust and nothing more. I was not feeling it at all with him.

Those are my main gripes with the story. I'd give this one a 2 out of 5. Hopefully the next KR historical I read will be better.

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Blogger Chantal said...

I understand how you feel about the accent. Thats how I feel about books with a heavy Scottish theme. The accent is very hard to read, and some authors go way over board with it.

December 19, 2006 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger ames said...

Hi Daphne! Great review. I'm reading Morning Song by Karen Robards, which is old too.

My gripe with her writing style is that there is nothing written about the hero's point of view. It's all about what's going on in our dear heroine's head and I want to know what the hero is thinking, dammit! hehe

December 19, 2006 at 7:28 AM  
Blogger Dylan (aka Rowena) said...

LOL! Daphne! Great review sweets, what an awesome great first review for SF, you did good sweetie! I love it...when I read the cockney accent that Derek Craven had, it didn't bother me, but I wonder if I'd feel the same if the girl had a cockney accent, hmmm...

December 19, 2006 at 8:17 PM  

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